London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

LKL book database logo

The Melancholy of Untold History

Publisher: , expected Jul 2024
Link to online store *

A beautifully crafted, enriching saga inspired by East Asian mythology, The Melancholy of Untold History is Minsoo Kang’s debut novel, steeped in history like R.F. Kuang’s Babel, epic in scope like Anthony Doerr’s Cloud Cuckoo Land, and lyrically exciting like David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, interweaving four complex yet entertaining stories as they shape and create a nation’s literary narrative through the themes of love and grief.

A history professor mourning his wife. His young protégé’s search for a path forward. Four witty mountain gods with much to say and not enough time to listen. A gifted storyteller bringing a world into being out of thin air…

Famous for his dispelling of the national myth, the Historian understands the power of narrative. He has inspired another young professor to search for her own truths, while trying to understand the way fiction creates fact and how sometimes the past can only be understood by filling in holes with a new narrative. Which is exactly what he needs when his wife passes away to parse meaning out of a world that no longer makes sense.

Together the protégé and the Historian find comfort in each other. Yet they know their time together is fleeting, as time usually is. Only the gods have an abundance of time, and yet—the two discover—even that might not be so clear cut. Part of their homeland’s myth tells of four gods who squabbled and argued and destroyed and rebuilt time and again.

Or did they?

Because, of course, even the gods need mouthpieces on earth. And the one the Historian knows of—the elusive Storyteller—may have just been spinning tales for his own amusement and, ultimately, revenge. By fabricating the exploits of the gods, he could have set a course for certain events to unfold and a particular story to survive today.

Spanning 3,000 years and multiple voices—with tales within tales woven expertly together—The Melancholy of Untold History reveals a people and its individuals who seek to confront the hardships of life through storytelling. Mixing the East Asian mythos with a postmodern approach to standard sci-fi/fantasy narrative tropes, Minsoo Kang has created a challenging, beautiful, sad, humorous, and ultimately unforgettable novel of love, grief, and myth-making.

Source: publisher’s website

Entry on here.

* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or 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 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.