From classic Joseon dynasty ghost stories, via historical fiction set in the reign of Queen Min, to the latest in translated literature, we take a look at some of the books to look forward to in 2018.
Our look at non-fiction titles can be found here.
Contemporary Korean literature in translation
- Hwang Sok-yong’s novel At Dusk (tr Sora Kim-Russell) will be published by Scribe Publications later in the year, following the success of Familiar Things.
- Kim Un-su’s novel, Plotters (tr Sora Kim-Russell), will be published by Text Publications.
- Tilted Axis will publish Hwang Jungeun’s I’ll Go On (tr Emily Yae Won) in October, following on from their success with One Hundred Shadows.
- Pegasus Books will be releasing Shin Kyung-sook’s A Court Dancer (tr Anton Hur) in September (Amazon link)
- Little, Brown brings us Jeong You-jeong’s The Good Son in May (Amazon link)
- Arcade will be bringing out Pyun Hye-young’s City of Ash and Red (tr Sora Kim-Russell) (Amazon link)
Classic literature in translation
I’m probably looking forward to these three books more than anything else on the list. While the Nine Cloud Dream has been translated before, it will be good to have Heinz Insu Fenkl’s accompanying essay; his Tale of Hong Gil-dong last year included a critical essay which was most welcome. The two Columbia titles also have essays to aid the understanding of the history of the texts. The prose collection includes stories such as A Tale of Two Sisters, Changhwa and Hongnyŏn (recognise the title?), some ghost stories, and tales which from their titles sound mildly titillating.
- Premodern Korean Literary Prose – An Anthology, Edited by Michael J. Pettid, Gregory N. Evon, and Chan Park (Columbia) is expected in February (Amazon link)
- The Nine Cloud Dream (tr Heinz Insu Fenkl) is expected this month (Penguin) (Amazon link)
- Columbia UP brings us The Tale of Cho Ung (tr Sookja Cho) in July (Columbia) (Amazon link)
Fiction in English
I always look forward to another installment in the series of detective stories featuring Sergeants Sueño and Bascom. And there’s plenty else besides:
- White Chrysanthemum, by Mary Lynn Bracht: “For fans of Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko and Lilac Girls, the heartbreaking history of Korea is brought to life in this deeply moving and redemptive debut that follows two sisters separated by World War II”. Expected January. (Amazon link)
- The Incendiaries, by R.O. Kwon: “a God-haunted, willful, strange book written with a kind of savage elegance” (source: ro-kwon.com) Expected July. (Amazon link)
- Star of the North, by D.B. John: “A propulsive and ambitious thriller about a woman trying to rescue her twin sister from captivity in North Korea” Expected May. (Amazon link)
- The Nine-Tailed Fox, by Martin Limón: “Martin Limon’s series set in 1970s South Korea, an era of heightened Korean sociopolitical tension, pits Army CID agents Sueno and Bascom against a mysterious woman who may be the leader of a gang–or a thousand-year-old creature.” Expected September (Amazon link)
- The Dragon Queen, by William Andrews: “From the bestselling author of Daughters of the Dragon comes the story of one of the most extraordinary queens in history.” (Amazon link)
- If You Leave Me, by Crystal Hana Kim. “An unforgettable story of family, love, and war set against the violent emergence of modern Korea.” Expected August. (Amazon link)
- And one I missed last year, Forgotten Reflections, by Young-Im Lee “Forgotten Reflections weaves an inspirational tale of family, lost memories, folklore and an unforgotten history, spanning three generations as South Korea rises from the ashes.” (July 2017) (Amazon link)
- From Ingram Publisher Services comes the memoir of a Korean adoptee in verse: Julayne Lee’s Not My White Savior, expected in March (Amazon link)
- Whisper of Splendor: Poems by Chong Hyon-Jong is expected from Homa & Sekey in February. The translator is Young-Shil Cho (Amazon link)
No doubt I’ve left out several which others know about. If so, let me know in the comments section.