London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

The Sorcerer of Pyongyang

Growing up amid the starvation and oppression of 1990s North Korea, 10-year-old Cho Jun-su stumbles upon a mysterious game, left behind in a hotel room by a rare foreign visitor. As Jun-su painstakingly deciphers the rules of the game in secret, he unlocks an inner world that is at first an antidote and then a … [Read More]

Nuclear Family

Set in the months leading up to the 2018 nuclear missile false alarm, a Korean American family living in Hawai’i faces the fallout of their eldest son’s attempt to run across the Demilitarized Zone into North Korea in this “fresh, inventive, and at times, hilarious novel” (Kaui Hart Hemmings, author of The Descendants). Things are … [Read More]

Beasts of a Little Land

It is 1917, and Korea is yet to be divided into north and south. With the threat of famine looming, a young girl named Jade is sold by her family to Miss Silver’s courtesan school in cosmopolitan Pyongyang, an act of desperation that will cement her place in the lowest social status. But the city’s … [Read More]

The Red Palace

To enter the palace means to walk a path stained in blood… Joseon (Korea), 1758. There are few options available to illegitimate daughters in the capital city, but through hard work and study, eighteen-year-old Hyeon has earned a position as a palace nurse. All she wants is to keep her head down, do a good job, … [Read More]

Skinship

WINNER OF THE PEN/ROBERT W. BINGHAM PRIZE • LONGLISTED FOR THE STORY PRIZE • The breathtaking debut of an important new voice—centered on a constellation of Korean American families “To encounter these achingly truthful, beautiful stories of newcomer Americans is like gazing up at the starry vault of a perfect night sky; it’s immediately dazzling and impressive, and yet the … [Read More]

The Forest of Stolen Girls

Suspenseful and richly atmospheric, June Hur’s The Forest of Stolen Girls is a haunting historical mystery sure to keep readers guessing until the last page. 1426, Joseon (Korea). Hwani’s family has never been the same since she and her younger sister went missing and were later found unconscious in the forest near a gruesome crime scene. Years later, … [Read More]

Yolk

From New York Times bestselling author Mary H.K. Choi comes a funny and emotional story about two estranged sisters and how far they’ll go to save one of their lives – even if it means swapping identities. Jayne and June Baek are nothing alike. June’s three years older, a classic first-born, know-it-all narc with a problematic finance … [Read More]

K-Pop Confidential

From the publisher’s website: A Korean-American girl travels to Seoul in hopes of debuting in a girl group at the same K-pop company behind the most popular boy band on the planet, in this romantic coming-of-age novel perfect for K-pop fans everywhere! Candace Park knows a lot about playing a role. For most of her … [Read More]

If I Had Your Face

From the publisher’s website: A riveting debut novel set in contemporary Seoul, Korea, about four young women making their way in a world defined by impossible standards of beauty, after-hours room salons catering to wealthy men, ruthless social hierarchies, and K-pop mania “Powerful and provocative … a novel about female strength, spirit, resilience—and the solace … [Read More]

Straight White Men / Untitled Feminist Show

“Young Jean Lee’s Untitled Feminist Show is one of the more moving and imagina­tive works I have ever seen on the American stage…what makes it so transcendent is its delicious ability to alternate the pain of being different with a sense of humor about lives not lived among the status quo.” —Hilton Als, New Yorker … [Read More]

The Silence of Bones

June Hur’s elegant and haunting debut The Silence of Bones is a bloody YA historical mystery tale perfect for fans of Kerri Maniscalco and Renée Ahdieh. I have a mouth, but I mustn’t speak; Ears, but I mustn’t hear; Eyes, but I mustn’t see. 1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient … [Read More]

East Goes West

From the publisher’s website: Foreword by Alexander Chee | Afterword by Sunyoung Lee | Notes by Sunyoung Lee Having fled Japanese-occupied Korea for the gleaming promise of the United States with nothing but four dollars and a suitcase full of Shakespeare to his name, the young, idealistic Chungpa Han arrives in a New York teeming … [Read More]

The Island of Sea Women

Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls living on the Korean island of Jeju, are best friends that come from very different backgrounds. When they are old enough, they begin working in the sea with their village’s all-female diving collective, led by Young-sook’s mother. As the girls take up their positions as baby divers, they know they are beginning a … [Read More]

White Chrysanthemum

Publisher description: ‘Look for your sister after each dive. Never forget. If you see her, you are safe.’ Hana and her little sister Emi are part of an island community of haenyo, women who make their living from diving deep into the sea off the southernmost tip of Korea. One day Hana sees a Japanese soldier … [Read More]

Pachinko

Publisher description: Yeongdo, Korea 1911. In a small fishing village on the banks of the East Sea, a club-footed, cleft-lipped man marries a fifteen-year-old girl. The couple have one child, their beloved daughter Sunja. When Sunja falls pregnant by a married yakuza, the family face ruin. But then Isak, a Christian minister, offers her a … [Read More]

How I became a North Korean

From the publisher’s website: Yongju is an accomplished student from one of North Korea’s most prominent families. Jangmi, on the other hand, has had to fend for herself since childhood, most recently by smuggling goods across the border. Danny is a Chinese-American teenager of Korean descent whose parents left China when he was nine; his … [Read More]