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The Penguin Book of Korean Short Stories

This eclectic, moving and richly enjoyable collection is the essential introduction to Korean literature.

Journeying through Korea’s dramatic recent past, from the Japanese occupation and colonial era to the devastating war between north and south and the rapid, disorienting urbanization of later decades, The Penguin Book of Korean Short Stories captures a hundred years of vivid storytelling.

Here are peddlers and donkeys travelling across moonlit fields; artists drinking and debating in the tea-houses of 1920s Seoul; soldiers fighting for survival; exiles from the war who can never go home again; and lonely men and women searching for connection in the dizzying modern city. The collection features stories by some of Korea’s greatest writers, including Pak Wanso, O Chonghui and Cho Chongnae, as well as many brilliant contemporary voices, such as P’yon Hyeyong, Han Yujoo and Kim Aeran. Curated by Bruce Fulton, this is a volume that will surprise, unsettle and delight.

Source: publisher’s website


Introduction by Kwon Youngmin

1 Tradition

Yi Hyo-seok: When the Buckwheat Blooms (1936) tr Kim Chong-un, Bruce Fulton
Ch’ae Man-Sik: A man called Hungbo (1939) tr Ross King, Bruce & Ju-Chan Fulton
Chu Yo-seop: Mama and the Boarder (1935) tr Kim Chong-un, Bruce Fulton
Yi Mun-yol: The Old Hatter (1979) tr Suh Ji-moon
Kim Tae-yong: Pig on Grass (2006) tr Bruce & Ju-Chan Fulton

2 Women and Men

Pak T’ae-wŏn: A Day in the Life of Kubo the Novelist (1934) tr Sunyoung Park, Jefferson J.A. Gatrall, Kevin O’Rourke
Kim Yu-jeong: Spicebush Blossoms / Camellias (1936) tr Bruce & Ju-Chan Fulton
Ch’oe Yun: The Last of Hanak’o (1994) tr Bruce & Ju-Chan Fulton
Hong Seok-jung: chapter from Hwangjini (2002) tr Bruce & Ju-Chan Fulton
Cheon Un-yeong: Needlework (2001) tr Na-young Bae, Bruce Fulton

3 Peace and War

Hwang Sun-won: Time for You and Me (1958) tr Bruce & Ju-Chan Fulton
Park Wan-suh: Winter Outing  (1975) tr Marshall R Pihl
Cho Chŏng-nae: Land of Exile (1981) tr Marshall R Pihl

4 Hell Chosŏn

Yi Sang: Wings (1936) tr Kevin O’Rourke
Kim Seung-ok: Seoul, 1964, Winter  (1965) tr Marshall R. Pihl
Oh Jung-Hee: Wayfarer (1983) tr Bruce & Ju-Chan Fulton
Shin Kyung-Sook: House on the Prairie (1996) tr Bruce & Ju-Chan Fulton
Pyun Hye-young: The First Anniversary (2006) tr Cindy Chen, Bruce & Ju-chan Fulton
Choi Suchol: River Dark (2001) tr Bruce & Ju-Chan Fulton

5 Into the New World

Ch’oe In-ho: The Poplar Tree (1981) tr Bruce & Ju-Chan Fulton
Hwang Jung-eun: The Bone Thief (2011) tr Bruce & Ju-Chan Fulton
Jung Young-moon: Home on the Range (2003) tr Bruce & Ju-Chan Fulton
Kim Jung-hyuk: The Glass Shield (2006) tr Kevin O’Rourke
Han Yujoo: Black and White Photographer (2007) tr Janet Hong
Kim Aeran: The Future of Silence (2013) tr Bruce & Ju-Chan Fulton

Read a review by Tony Malone 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.