Where to start in Korean literature – the skinny version

6 recommendations in korean literature

My somewhat meaty post on Monday was prompted by a request for recommendations from a new acquaintance who knew of my Korean interests. He initially asked for three recommendations, which I found completely impossible – hence Monday’s list of ten authors, with a favoured title by each, plus ten additional titles.

But now, having thought about it a little more I’m going to try to comply with his request for three titles… kind of.

Here’s my top three for those who are interested in trying something new and aren’t particularly bothered about whether something is “Korean” or not:

  • Jang Eun-jin: No One Writes Back
  • Kim Young-ha: Diary of a Murderer
  • (For someone who’s prepared for a bit of a challenge) Bae Suah: Untold Night and Day

None of those three I’d say is particularly “Korean” – the action could take place anywhere. But those three titles represent an interesting spread of genres and authors.

If your interests in Korean literature are as a window into Korean history, society or culture (while still having a rewarding reading experience), and therefore you want something more hardcore Korean, then:

  • Han Kang: Human Acts
  • Hwang Sok-yong: At Dusk
  • (Most hardcore of all) Yi Chong-jun: Seopyeonje

But obviously I’d rather you work your way systematically through the complete list!

It’s actually darned difficult to whittle it down to just three – but if I really had to, it would probably be No One Writes Back, Human Acts and Seopyeonje.

2 thoughts on “Where to start in Korean literature – the skinny version

  1. I am a librarian and Han Kang’s ‘Human Acts’ is issued to customers quite a lot. I am going to add it to my TBR list

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