Books

Park Wan-suh: Lonesome You Translated by Elizabeth Haejin Yoon Dalkey Archive, 2015, 252pp Originally published as 너무도 쓸쓸한 당신, Seoul, 1998. I came to Lonesome You with fairly neutral expectations. I had read Who Ate All the Shinga, the story of Park’s childhood in the late 1940s and through the war years. It was an interesting […]

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Book Review: The Story of Hong Gildong

by Philip Gowman 18 November 2016
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Anon (attr Heo Kyun): The Story of Hong Gildong Translated with an introduction and notes by Minsoo Kang Penguin, 2016, 100pp Penguin has done us a favour by bringing us this new translation of a classic Korean tale, along with a useful introduction and notes. Hong Gildong is often described as the Korean Robin Hood […]

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An interview with Jung Yewon

by Philip Gowman 11 November 2016
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There’s a good interview ithe Jung Yewon, translator of Hwang Jung-eun’s One Hundred Shadows, in The London Magazine. [T]he image of misty rain, “slender as spider’s silk,” is something that … stayed with me as I read, translated, and reread the book, with the ambience of a dream it spun. Authors: Hwang Jungeun

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Event news: Hwang Jungeun book launch at London Review Bookshop

by Philip Gowman 4 October 2016
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Tilted Axis Press is launching its first Korean title on 20 October at the London Review Bookshop. Hwang Jungeun will be present to discuss her work. Tickets via Eventbrite. You can buy a copy of the book before then via the Tilted Axis Press website. Hwang Jungeun: One Hundred Shadows London Review Bookshop | 14 […]

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Book review: Hwang Sun-won — Lost Souls

by Philip Gowman 30 August 2016
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Hwang Sun-won: Lost Souls Translated by Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton Columbia University Press 2010, 354pp Having quite enjoyed two of Hwang Sun-won’s fuller-length stories – Trees on a Slope and Descendants of Cain – though without necessarily being enamoured of the characters of the stories they inhabited, I was looking forward to tackling Lost Souls, […]

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Inspector O in NYT feature

by Philip Gowman 29 August 2016
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There’s a nice feature on James Church and his Inspector O series in the NYT. Well worth a read, as are the books themselves. Here’s a good quote from the article: “If you want to understand North Korea then you need to read Inspector O,” said Michael Madden, who has spent years studying the North […]

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Krys Lee featured in the Guardian

by Philip Gowman 13 August 2016
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There’s a really good interview with Krys Lee (Drifting House, How I Became a North Korean) in The Guardian: “The acclaimed short story writer talks about her debut novel, trying to understand her violent father and moving back from the US to South Korea”. The novel is available on Amazon from 18 August. Krys Lee […]

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Anti-Americanism in Democratizing South Korea

by Philip Gowman 30 July 2016
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This book by David Straub, head of the political section in the US Embassy in Seoul 1999-2002, has just gone onto my wishlist. Reviews by Aidan Foster Carter in the Korea JoongAng Daily and by Bradley K Martin in Asia Times. Available from Amazon.co.uk. Published by Stanford’s Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center and distributed by the […]

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Event news: August’s literature night features Jung Young Moon

by Philip Gowman 29 July 2016
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The last two literature nights featuring Hwang Sun-won and Park Wan-suh have been really rewarding. Even if you’re not wholly convinced about the subject book, the opportunity to discuss it with others always provides different ways of looking at it. I hope I’ll get around to writing about both books – Park Wan-suh’s Lonesome You […]

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Those foreigner-friendly cookery books keep on coming…

by Philip Gowman 26 July 2016
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Time was when you really couldn’t lay your hands on a cookery book focusing on Korean food that was written by someone who understood the UK market. We were all waiting for Judy Joo’s Korean Food Made Simple – which according to Amazon was published on 19 May this year, though it was available on […]

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Book review: Cheon Myeong-kwan — Modern Family

by Philip Gowman 2 June 2016
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Cheon Myeong-kwan: Modern Family Translated by Kyoung-lee Park White Pine Press Korean Voices Series, 2015 Originally published as 고령화 가족 by Munhakdongne Publishing Corp, 2010 The KCC has been running its Korean Literature Nights for more than two years now. The discussion group has an enthusiastic and regular following, to the extent that seats have […]

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Event news: an evening with Korean authors Han Yujoo and Cheon Myeong-kwan

by Philip Gowman 23 April 2016
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Cheon Myeong-Kwan and Han Yujoo are being made to work hard during their visit to London in support of the special Korea issue of the Asia Literary Review. Asia House on 10 May (with Deborah Smith), SOAS on 12 May (again with Deborah Smith), and KCC on 13 May (with Kelly Falconer): Korean Literature Night: […]

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Tony’s Reading List plugs Bae Suah

by Philip Gowman 6 April 2016
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There’s a great article in support of Bae Suah’s Nowhere to be Found (tr Sora Kim-Russell) on Three Percent, by Tony of Tony’s Reading List fame. A year ago he did a review of Nowhere to be Found along with Highway with Green Apples. And in his Three Percent article he passes on this bit of […]

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Event news: K-Lit in the age of Korean Cool

by Philip Gowman 4 April 2016
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For those who are lucky enough to get to the Korean Literature Night at the KCC this month, the author of the featured book will be at Asia House a couple of weeks later: K-Lit in the age of Korean Cool 10 May, 2016, 18:45 – 20:30 Asia House | Book here Hallyu – the […]

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KCC’s April Korean Literature Night features Cheon Myung-kwan’s Modern Family

by Philip Gowman 4 April 2016
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Cheon Myung-kwan is definitely author of the month – he’s appearing at Asia House in May as well as being the subject of this month’s Korean Literature Night. The novel was made into the movie Boomerang Family by director Song Hae-sung, which was the closing gala screening of the 2013 London Korean Film Festival. Korean […]

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Hong Gildong coming soon to Penguin Classics

by Philip Gowman 23 March 2016
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I wonder why it’s taken so long. But coming soon, in a new translation by Minsoo Kang, is The Story of Hong Gildong, “arguably the single most important work of classic Korean fiction,” according to the publishers, Penguin Classics. A release date of 7 July 2016 is mentioned, though Amazon UK is offering it on […]

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Why Han Kang’s Human Acts is likely to be my book of the year

by Philip Gowman 17 February 2016
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Han Kang: Human Acts Translated by Deborah Smith Portobello Books, 2016, 224pp Originally published as 소년이 온다, Changbi Publishers Inc, Seoul, 2014 Han Kang’s Human Acts hits the bookshelves in the UK just as The Vegetarian starts to make waves in the US. The latter book has already made its mark in the UK, making […]

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