“Asian Literature” in Hong Kong

Before we get carried away by the idea of the new Korean Literature Wave, here’s the “Asian Literature” (in English translation) section of a decent Hong Kong bookstore this week (Page One in Times Square).

Books

Almost 50% Murakami, some Japanese Asia Extreme, and some Chinese. While this would be a normal state of affairs in a British bookstore (though maybe they’d not have as much Chinese) I would somehow expect more diversity on the island which is said virtually to have shut down when the final episode of Jewel in the Palace was aired.

Asian-literature

3 thoughts on ““Asian Literature” in Hong Kong

  1. Yes that reflects the general situation in Hong Kong (where I live) so far as English translations are concerned. The only Korean literary work in English that one finds regularly in bookshops is ‘Please look after mom’. But it may be different with the Chinese versions that about 95% of the population read (not including me, alas). And our public libraries are good (e.g. I’ve just read Black Flower from there). Korean TV dramas are very very popular but don’t usually come with English subtitles – in general, the ‘Korean wave’ comes here in Cantonese and, of course, through cute girls and boys who sing!

    1. Ah yes, I did spot a copy of Please Look After Mom in the general fiction section at Eslite at Hyman Place. It raised my hopes a bit, but that’s all they had of Korean fiction.

      In Page One’s favour though, they were playing Korean jazz over the sound system: a track from Nah Youn Sun’s album Lento. So I kind of forgave them.

  2. Glad the library had “Black Flower”. I think I prefer “Your Republic is Calling you” and “I have the right to destroy myself”, but Black Flower is a fascinating read for the historical aspects.

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