Table for One: Stories

From the publisher’s website: An office worker who has no one to eat lunch with enrolls in a course that builds confidence about eating alone. A man with a pathological fear of bedbugs offers up his body to save his building from infestation. A time capsule in Seoul is dug up hundreds of years before […]

The Penguin Book of Korean Short Stories

From the publisher’s website: This eclectic, moving and wonderfully enjoyable collection is the essential introduction to Korean literature. Journeying through Korea’s dramatic twentieth century, 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 […]

Shoko’s Smile

From the publisher’s website: ‘Written with sober detail, filmic precision and absolute control . . . an incredibly impressive collection told with realism, seriousness and moral integrity’ Observer In crisp, unembellished prose, Choi Eunyoung paints intimate portraits of the lives of young women in South Korea, balancing the personal with the political. In the title story, […]

On the Origin of Species and Other Stories

From the publisher’s website: The debut English-language collection of one of South Korea’s most distinctive and accomplished sci-fi authors Straddling science fiction, fantasy and myth, the writings of award-winning author Bo-Young Kim have garnered a cult following in South Korea, where she is widely acknowledged as a pioneer and inspiration. On the Origin of Species makes available […]

Arriving in a Thick Fog

The four novellas in Arriving in a Thick Fog typify renowned Korean cult writer Jung Young Moon’s emphasis not on events, but on the meticulous and convoluted paths the narrator’s minds take as they navigate through life. Through a deep, filterless gaze into the narrator’s heads, Jung shares thorough musings that manage to be both spontaneous and […]

Happy Together (K-Fiction 029)

From the Interpark bookstore website (fed through the Google translation engine): The twenty-ninth work of K-fiction. This is a short story by Seo Jang-won that has been drawing attention by steadily publishing good works since his debut as the Dong-A Ilbo New Year’s Literature in 2020. Like in the previous works that carefully captured the […]

I’m Waiting for You: And Other Stories

From the publisher’s website: A stunning collection of short fiction by one of South Korea’s most treasured writers, available in English for the first time. ‘Her fiction is a breath-taking piece of a cinematic art itself. Reminiscent of the world we experienced in The Matrix, Inception, and Dark City, still it leads us to this […]

Tower

Tower is a series of interconnected stories set in Beanstalk, a 674-story skyscraper and sovereign nation. Each story deals with how citizens living in the hypermodern high-rise deal with various influences of power in their lives: a group of researchers have to tell their boss that a major powerbroker is a dog, a woman uses […]

Lonesome Jar

Translator’s note: “Lonesome Jar” is a collection of 20 short fables expressing wisdom about life. These beautiful editions of translations of Jeong Ho-seung’s “children’s stories for grown-ups” benefit from the illustrations from the Korean editions. Contents: Author’s Preface • 5 | A Hangari Jar • 13 | Lovebirds • 22 | Flood Tide and Ebb […]

Yi Sang: Selected Works

Formally audacious and remarkably compelling, Yi Sang’s works were uniquely situated amid the literary experiments of world literature in the early twentieth century and the political upheaval of 1930s Japanese occupied Korea. While his life ended prematurely at the age of twenty-seven, Yi Sang’s work endures as one of the great revolutionary legacies of modern […]

Bluebeard’s First Wife

From the publisher’s website: Disasters, accidents, and deaths abound in Bluebeard’s First Wife. A woman spends a night with her fiancé and his friends, and overhears a terrible secret that has bound them together since high school. A man grows increasingly agitated by the apartment noise made by a young family living upstairs and arouses […]

Milena, Milena, Ecstatic

Yun’s meticulously ordered life of reading books and drinking coffee receives a jolt when a mysterious cultural foundation unexpectedly agrees to fund his film proposal: a blend of fiction and documentary, a tone-poem constructed around a lyrical narrative, set around Scythian graves in the High Altai mountains. Desperate to be taken on as his assistant, […]

Kong’s Garden (Yeoyu)

Imagine Cormac McCarthy writing about the boring lives of clerks and you’ll anticipate something of the dystopic flavour of this gripping but socially bleak short story from Hwang. In a Korean world in which education has historically meant everything, the narrator realizes both that this is not true (through her partner in an essentially loveless […]

Europa

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 […]

Left’s Right, Right’s Left

The story takes place on a stairwell, all in about a minute’s time, while the narrator’s partner seizes her by the hair. The narrator had gotten caught, after running out of the apartment to try to escape assault. While she tries desperately to avoid falling down the stairs, she has a series of flashbacks about […]

Five Preludes and a Fugue

A young woman delves into the circumstances of her mother’s death ahead of her own marriage, interrogating a woman who witnessed her mother’s death and would later come to play a crucial role in her life. An exploration of the human (in)capacity for (self-)deception and knowledge, the story offers a nuanced portrait of contemporary (Korean) […]