Novels in English

Hannah Michell: The Defections Quercus, 2014, 336pp THE BRITISH EMBASSY, SEOUL STAFF RECORD NAME: Kim, Mia D.O.B: 27/10/1979 POSITION: Translator REPORTS TO: Dalton-Ellis, Thomas NATIONALITY: Korean ETHNICITY: Mixed – Korean/British BACKGROUND NOTES: Born, was educated and lives in Seoul. Family – father, disabled – stepmother, seamstress – mother, English, unknown – uncle, runs school for […]

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Book review: Martin Limón — The Joy Brigade

by Philip Gowman 30 July 2013
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Martin Limón: The Joy Brigade Soho Press, 2012. 304pp Martin Limón’s eighth novel in the Ernie Bascom and George Sueño series covers new ground in many respects. It is the first novel in which we see Sueno on his own, not accompanied by his buddy Bascom. And it is the first time that Limon has […]

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Krys Lee interviewed for Asia House

by Philip Gowman 17 April 2013
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There’s a nice interview with Krys Lee, author of Drifting House, on the Asia House website. Drifting House was LKL’s book of the year last year, and so we’re looking forward to seeing Ms Lee at the Asia House Festival of Asian Literature next month. Authors: Krys Lee

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Orphan Master wins Pulitzer

by Philip Gowman 16 April 2013
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At LKL we were lukewarm, but we don’t mind being in the minority. So congratulations to Adam Johnson for winning the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, “for distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life,” with The Orphan Master’s Son. Source: www.pulitzer.org Authors: Adam Johnson

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Book review: So Far from the Bamboo Grove

by Philip Gowman 30 November 2012
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Yoko Kawashima Watkins: So Far from the Bamboo Grove Harper Collins, 1986 Reprinted with letter from the author, 2008 183pp This time last year, Wikileaks revealed that when Mitt Romney, then Governor of Massachussetts, visited Korea in December 2006, one of the topics raised by the Korean Acting Foreign Minister Cho Jung-pyo was this short […]

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Book Review: Martin Limón — Mr Kill

by Philip Gowman 23 November 2012
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Martin Limón: Mr Kill Soho Crime, 2011, 375pp Damn. He’s never done this before. This is Martin Limón’s 7th novel in his exciting, action-packed series featuring George Sueño and Ernie Bascom, investigators in the military police attached to the US 8th Army in 1970s Seoul Although the novels have been written over the course of […]

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Am I alone among Korea-followers in being a huge fan of Martin Limón?

by Philip Gowman 30 October 2012
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Having read all seven of his previous novels, I’m delighted to have discovered that the 8th was published a few weeks ago. He might have thrown historical credibility to the winds this time round, but who cares? It sounds an absolute blast: Seoul, early 1970s: US Army Sergeant George Sueño is on a mission of […]

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The Orphan Master’s Son: best left in the orphanage

by Philip Gowman 23 March 2012
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Adam Johnson: The Orphan Master’s Son Doubleday, 2012 The publication of The Orphan Master’s Son, the second novel by Adam Johnson, had lucky timing, surfing the wave of interest in the North caused by the death of Kim Jong-il. The newspapers duly lined up to review it to general acclaim, but an early battleground formed: […]

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FT interviews with author Krys Lee

by Philip Gowman 21 January 2012
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Small talk: interview with Korean American writer Krys Lee in the FT http://t.co/VN4wRXzT (via @rjkoehler). Her first book, Drifting House, a collection of short stories set in North Korea, South Korea and the US, is now available on Amazon.

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Book review: The Martyred (Richard E Kim)

by Philip Gowman 29 November 2011
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Richard E. Kim: The Martyred First published by George Braziller, 1964 Published in Penguin Classics 2011, with introduction by Heinz Insu Fenzl and Preface by Susan Choi. 199 pp Fourteen North Korean priests are rounded up by the communists just before North Korea invades the South in June 1950. Twelve of the priests are shot, […]

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Book Review: Martin Limón: G.I. Bones

by Philip Gowman 18 November 2011
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Martin Limón: G.I. Bones Soho Crime 2009 G.I. Bones is the sixth in Martin Limón’s excellent series featuring George Sueño and Ernie Bascom, detectives from the US military based in 1970s Seoul. The first in the series, Jade Lady Burning, was published nearly 20 years ago in 1992, but our investigators are still in their […]

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Sergeants Sueño & Bascom return with Mr Kill

by Philip Gowman 13 November 2011
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Sergeants Sueño & Bascom return in December with Mr. Kill – the 7th in Martin Limón’s excellent detective series set in 70s Seoul. So far, on Kindle only. http://t.co/WvNAx8eT Authors: Martin Limón

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So far from the Bamboo Grove discussed by Governor Romney

by Philip Gowman 1 October 2011
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WikiLeaks: Massachusetts governor Romney discussed So Far From the Bamboo Grove with acting foreign minister Cho Jung-pyo in 2006. The book, on state school reading lists, contributes to a negative perception of Koreans. Authors: Yoko Kawashima Watkins

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Debut novel from Samuel Park

by Philip Gowman 17 July 2011
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Korean American author Samuel Park debuts with This Burns My Heart – a love story set in post-war Korea. Out now. http://bit.ly/mPROF6 #. Feature in Good Reads.

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Is this the only modern Korea-related novel published by Penguin Classics?

by Philip Gowman 22 June 2011
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The number of Korea-related publications in the Penguin Classics list can probably be counted on the fingers of one hand, and most are by ancient Confucian sages. The publisher’s blurb below says that if you like Lee Changrae’s The Surrendered you’ll like this: Richard E Kim’s The Martyred. Lee didn’t do a good sales job […]

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DPRK-related books reviewed in Economist

by Philip Gowman 17 May 2011
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Three DPRK-related books get a brief review in the Economist. Guy Delisle’s Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea, the latest James Church, and the thriller Maximum Target by Martin Gower: http://econ.st/mqErGC #

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Book Review: Lark and Termite. (Densely poetic and powerful, apparently)

by Philip Gowman 18 March 2011
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Jayne Anne Phillips: Lark and Termite Vintage Books, 2009 Surely the most carefully crafted sentence in a novel is the opening one. So when a reader is faced with an opening sentence that would not only have the Microsoft grammar checker going crazy with those irritating green wiggly lines but which would fox a literate […]

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