Translated by: Deborah Smith
Publisher: Strangers Press, 2019.
Link to online store *
Inah has been having nightmares. Nightmares of fish bones, fractals, and a marriage that ended under some unnamed violence. Walking the night streets with a man she has known for years, whose feelings for her are bound up with his intense longing to live as a woman, the fragile bond of their relationship threatens to shatter. Internationally acclaimed author Han Kang directs her unflinching gaze on the painful complexities of damage and recovery, questioning what it is we want from ourselves and each other, and whether there are some things that are truly irreparable.
From the Yeoyu collection, a selection of eight short stories translated from Korean, in collaboration with publisher-activist and translation trailblazer, Deborah Smith, and featuring writers such as Han Kang and Bae Suah, among others less familiar to an English-speaking audience.
여유, Yeoyu, means something like ‘scope’ and/or ‘relaxed’ in English; scope to be yourself, to follow your own interests. In some ways it means the opposite of being constrained by convention, more to be unbounded in such a way. In a sense, it means to be oneself but with enough ‘left over’ — for others, maybe.
It is intended to capture the diverse range of themes and styles the series, and Korean literature far more widely, has to offer the curious reader and also to say something figurative and fun about the act and process of translation.
* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or Bookshop.org for the more recent uploads (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to Bookshop.org and Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.