Translated by: Horace Jeffery Hodges, Hwang Sun-ae
Publisher: Dalkey Archive, 2013.
Link to online store *
A major, never before translated novel by the author of “Muj?ng / The Heartless”–often called the first modern Korean novel–“The Soil” tells the story of an idealist dedicating his life to helping the inhabitants of the rural community in which he was raised. Striving to influence the poor farmers of the time to improve their lots, become self-reliant, and thus indirectly change the reality of colonial life on the Korean peninsula, “The Soil” was vitally important to the social movements of the time, echoing the effects and reception of such English-language novels as Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle.”
A thoroughly enjoyable read, with plenty of insights about life and society in colonial Korea, and plenty of moral lessons too.
* 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.