Novels in English

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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Two recent low-lights in Korea-related publishing

by Philip Gowman 13 March 2011
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Two recent books to avoid: Kimchi-flavored erotica? “In Deep Kimchi” on Amazon: http://amzn.to/fB5KfN. Looks totally dreadful, particularly as it seems to be about sex with a J-pop band #. Via KTLit.com. Charles Montgomery says a new book on Dokdo Thirty Three Shouts is “A Complete Waste of Time http://bit.ly/i6RIUT #

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Book review: Pearl Buck’s Living Reed

by Philip Gowman 25 February 2011
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Pearl S Buck: Living Reed – A Novel of Korea Moyer Bell, 1963 Pearl Buck spent most of her childhood and early adulthood in China in an American missionary family and, mixing with local children, grew up with an unrivaled understanding of the country. Her experiences were distilled into an unexpectedly bestselling trilogy of novels […]

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Book review: Eugenia Kim — The Calligrapher’s Daughter

by Philip Gowman 21 January 2011
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Eugenia Kim: The Calligrapher’s Daughter Bloomsbury, 2010 Eugenia Sun-hee Kim’s first novel is based in part on the life of her mother, who was born in Japanese-occupied Korea and later emigrated to America after having lived to see liberation. The key characters in the novel are Najin – born on the day that Japan formally […]

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Book Review: Yin Yang Tattoo

by Philip Gowman 5 November 2010
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Ron McMillan: Yin Yang Tattoo Sandstone Press, 2010 “If you’ll excuse us, we have stereotypes to explore,” says our hero, Alec Brodie, to a visiting investment banker as he heads off to a private room arm-in-arm with a Korean girl. Yes, there’s irony in the quip, but the stereotypes don’t stop with the expense-account prostitute. […]

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Stylish trailer for Yin Yang Tattoo

by Philip Gowman 4 November 2010
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Here’s a stylish artwork on this promotional Video for Ron McMillan’s Yin Yang Tattoo. Via ROK Drop. http://bit.ly/cghkDx # LKL’s review of the book can be found here. Authors: Ron McMillan

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James Church interviewed on Korean Kontext

by Philip Gowman 23 September 2010
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An interview with the elusive James Church, author of Corpse in the Koryo and the other fun novels in the Inspector O series. Podcast on Korean Kontext. http://bit.ly/cc3GbE # Authors: James Church

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An evening with Changrae Lee

by Philip Gowman 29 June 2010
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LKL reports from the evening with Korean American author Changrae Lee, chaired by Erica Wagner, as part of the Asia House Festival of Asian Literature, 24 May 2010. The Asia House Festival of Asian Literature, now in its fifth year, for the first time included Korean representation this year. With such a title, you might […]

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Schama reviews Surrendered

by Philip Gowman 16 May 2010
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“A novel of desire and displacement that is brilliantly flawed”. Simon Schama reviews Changrae Lee's The Surrendered in the FT http://bit.ly/auQAMl # Authors: Lee Chang-rae

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Brief book review: Dictée – Theresa Hak Kyung Cha

by Philip Gowman 23 March 2010
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Theresa Hak Kyung Cha: Dictée University of California Press, 2001. Originally published 1982. Not all books are easy to read, and it would be a dull world in which all books were. The assessment of whether to continue struggling through a difficult book is tricky: maybe it will all come together in the end – […]

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Book review: The Wandering Ghost

by Philip Gowman 7 January 2010
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Martin Limón: The Wandering Ghost Soho Press, 2007 While North of the DMZ we have the ongoing series of the enigmatic Inspector O to keep us entertained with mystery, suspense and action, south of the border we have the maverick military police sergeants George Sueño and Ernie Bascom. Where Inspector O inhabits a contemporary world, […]

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