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Booklist: notable titles from 2019

Here is a list of titles published in 2019 that we’ve been tracking and even hoping to read: literature in translation, Korea-related fiction and poetry in English, plus notable non-fiction titles.

Sorted by date of publication, most recent first.

BookCover image

Rediscovering Korean Cinema
Ed Sangjoon Lee
University of Michigan Press, 2019

From the publisher’s website South Korean cinema is a striking example of non-Western contemporary cinematic success. Thanks to the increasing numbers of moviegoers and domestic films produced, South Korea has become one of the world’s major film markets. In 2001, the South Korean film industry became the first in recent history to reclaim its domestic […] (Link to online store)

Butterfly Sleep
Kim Kyung-ju tr Jake Levine
Tupelo Press, 2019

From the publisher’s website: Kim Kyung Ju’s allegorical drama Butterfly Sleep refracts a critique of South Korea’s headlong development through a mixture of magic realism and absurdist dark humor set early in the Joseon dynasty. With lyricism and grace, Kim unfolds a lesson of consolation by confrontation, and finally reconciliation, with the ghosts of the […] (Link to online store)

International Impact of Colonial Rule in Korea, 1910-1945
Ed Yong-Chool Ha
University of Washington Press, 2019

From the publisher’s website: In recent years, discussion of the colonial period in Korea has centered mostly on the degree of exploitation or development that took place domestically, while international aspects have been relatively neglected. Colonial discourse, such as characterization of Korea as a “hermit nation,” was promulgated around the world by Japan and haunts […] (Link to online store)

Transnational Korean Cinema: Cultural Politics, Film Genres, and Digital Technologies
Dal Yong Jin
Rutgers University Press, 2019

From the publisher’s website: In Transnational Korean Cinema author Dal Yong Jin explores the interactions of local and global politics, economics, and culture to contextualize the development of Korean cinema and its current place in an era of neoliberal globalization and convergent digital technologies. The book emphasizes the economic and industrial aspects of the story, looking at […] (Link to online store)

Seven Samurai Swept Away in a River
Jung Young-moon tr Jung Yewon
Deep Vellum, 2019

A literary meandering into the mythology of place and what a novel can be, inspired by the author’s time spent at an artist residency in small-town Texas. In his inimitable, recursive, meditative style that reads like a comedic zen koan but contains universes, Seven Samurai Swept Away in a River recounts Korean cult writer’s Jung […] (Link to online store)

I Gave the Sun a Long Look (K-Poet 10)
Lee Young-kwang tr Daniel Parker, Ji YoungShil
Asia Publishers, 2019

From the Kyobo website via Google Translate: The first Korean-English poet’s gaze covering all of Korea’s leading poets Lee Young-gwang’s new poem book I Gave the Sun a Long Look The ‘K-Poet’ series is intended to be distributed to the domestic and foreign markets after extracting the essence of Korean poetry that you always want […] (Link to online store)

A Brief History of Korea: Isolation, War, Despotism and Revival – The Fascinating Story of a Resilient But Divided People
Michael J Seth
Tuttle, 2019

From the publisher’s website: Exploring Korean history from its ancient roots to the present day, A Brief History of Korea is the story of a people with a rich and united culture that has become two Koreas in modern times—one isolated and secretive and the other among the world’s most successful economies. Korean culture developed on a […] (Link to online store)

A Ghost Poet (K-Poet 09)
Kim Joong-il tr Jeon Seung-hee
Asia Publishers, 2019

From the Kyobo bookstore website via Papago translate: The first Korean-English translation of a Korean poet A new collection of poems by poet Kim Joong-il “K-Poet” series, which aims to select the essence of Korean poetry and translate it into English and serve it to domestic and foreign markets. It represents the only Korean-English translation […] (Link to online store)

Transnational Korean Television: Cultural Storytelling and Digital Audiences
Hyejung Ju
Lexington Books, 2019

From the publisher’s website: Transnational Korean Television: Cultural Storytelling and Digital Audiences provides previously absent analyses of Korean TV dramas’ transnational influences, peculiar production features, distribution, and consumption to enrich the contextual understanding of Korean TV’s transcultural mobility. Even as academic discussions about the Korean Wave have heated up, Korean television studies from transnational viewpoints […] (Link to online store)

Shinra Myōjin and Buddhist Networks of the East Asian “Mediterranean”
Sujung Kim
University of Hawai'i Press, 2019

From the publisher’s website: This ambitious work offers a transnational account of the deity Shinra Myōjin, the “god of Silla” worshipped in medieval Japanese Buddhism from the eleventh to sixteenth centuries. Sujung Kim challenges the long-held understanding of Shinra Myōjin as a protective deity of the Tendai Jimon school, showing how its worship emerged and […] (Link to online store)

A Concise History of Korea: From Antiquity to the Present
Michael J Seth
Rowman + Littlefield, 2019

From the publisher’s website: Now in a fully revised and updated edition including new primary sources and illustrations, this comprehensive book surveys Korean history from Neolithic times to the present. Michael J. Seth explores the origins and development of Korean society, politics, and still little-known cultural heritage from their inception to the two Korean states […] (Link to online store)

The Novel in Transition: Gender and Literature in Early Colonial Korea
Jooyeon Rhee
Cornell East Asia Series, 2019

Having been marginalized from the literature-proper sphere of Confucian elite culture, the novel began to transform significantly at turn of the twentieth century in Korea. Selected novels in transformation that Jooyeon Rhee investigates in this book include both translated and creative historical novels, domestic novels, and crime novels, all of which were produced under the […] (Link to online store)

Reencounters: On the Korean War and Diasporic Memory Critique
Crystal Mun-hye Baik
Temple University Press, 2019

From the publisher’s website: In Reencounters, Crystal Mun-hye Baik examines what it means to live with and remember an ongoing war when its manifestations—hypervisible and deeply sensed—become everyday formations delinked from militarization. Contemplating beyond notions of inherited trauma and postmemory, Baik offers the concept of reencounters to better track the Korean War’s illegible entanglements through an interdisciplinary […] (Link to online store)

Digital Mediascapes of Transnational Korean Youth Culture
Kyong Yoon
Routledge, 2019

From the publisher’s website: Drawing on vivid ethnographic field studies of youth on the transnational move, across Seoul, Toronto, and Vancouver, this book examines transnational flows of Korean youth and their digital media practices. This book explores how digital media are integrated into various forms of transnational life and imagination, focusing on young Koreans and […] (Link to online store)

Korean Diaspora across the World: Homeland in History, Memory, Imagination, Media, and Reality
Ed Eun-Jeong Han, Min Wha Han and JongHwa Lee
Lexington Books, 2019

From the publisher’s website: This edited volume analyzes the Korean diaspora across the world and traces the meaning and the performance of homeland. The contributors explore different types of discourses among Korean diaspora across the world, such as personal/familial narratives, oral/life histories, public discourses, and media discourses. They also examine the notion of “space” to […] (Link to online store)

Quiet Odyssey: A Pioneer Korean Woman in America
Mary Paik Lee
University of Washington Press, 2019

From the publisher’s website: Mary Paik Lee left her native country in 1905, traveling with her parents as a political refugee after Japan imposed control over Korea. Her father worked in the sugar plantations of Hawaii briefly before taking his family to California. They shared the poverty-stricken existence endured by thousands of Asian immigrants in […] (Link to online store)

Historical Dictionary of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
James E Hoare
Rowman + Littlefield, 2019

From the publisher’s website: As Kim Jong Un approaches the seventh anniversary of his coming to power he has pushed the military back. The modified Constitution adopted in 2016 saw the demotion of the National Defense Council in favor of a new State Affairs Council which was a more party and government dominated body. He […] (Link to online store)

Right to Mourn: Trauma, Empathy, and Korean War Memorials
Suhi Choi
Oxford University Press, 2019

From the publisher’s website: In the highly politicized memory space of postwar South Korea, many families have been deprived of their right to mourn loved ones lost in the Korean War. Only since the 1990s has the government begun to acknowledge the atrocities committed by South Korean and American troops that resulted in large numbers […] (Link to online store)

BTS and ARMY Culture
Jeeheng Lee tr Oul Han, Solbee Park
Communication Books, 2019

ARMY is a community of taste, and BTS is their common denominator. This book started from the wish to apply the perspective of a cultural studies scholar in order to investigate the fandom ARMY as a most ardent outcome to arise from a “community of taste.” On a personal level, the most pressing question was […] (Link to online store)

Jejueo: The Language of Korea’s Jeju Island
Changyong Yang, Sejung Yang, William O'Grady
University of Hawai'i Press, 2019

From the publisher’s website: Jeju Island, located about 30 miles southwest of the Korean mainland, is famous for its natural beauty, dolhaleubang (“stone grandfather”) statues, haenyeo (“sea women”) divers—and its language, which has only recently been recognized as distinct from Korean. This finding—still considered controversial—undermines the centuries-old belief that Korea has a single language within its borders and opens […] (Link to online store)

Maangchi’s Big Book of Korean Cooking: From Everyday Meals to Celebration Cuisine
Maangchi
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019

From the publisher’s website: Despite the huge popularity of Korean restaurants, there has been no comprehensive book on Korean cooking—until now. Maangchi’s Big Book of Korean Cooking is a wide, deep journey to the heart of a food-obsessed culture. The book contains the favorite dishes Maangchi has perfected over the years, from Korean barbecue and […] (Link to online store)

The Catcher in the Loft
Cheon Un-yeong tr Bruce Fulton, Ju-chan Fulton
Codhill Press, 2019

Inspired by the case of a torture specialist in 1980s South Korea who from 1988 to 2000 was a fugitive in his own house, The Catcher in the Loft (published in South Korea in 2011 as Saenggang) is in equal parts a portrait of a man coming to terms with his notorious past and a […] (Link to online store) LKL Review

The Political Economy of the Small Welfare State in South Korea
Jae-Jin Yang
Cambridge University Press, 2019

From the publisher’s website: This book explains why the Korean welfare state is underdeveloped despite successful industrialization, democratization, a militant labor movement, and a centralized meritocracy. Unlike most social science books on Korea, which tend to focus on its developmental state and rapid economic development, this book deals with social welfare issues and politics during […] (Link to online store)

Judy Joo’s Korean Soul Food: Authentic dishes and modern twists
Judy Joo
White Lion Publishing, 2019

From the publisher’s website: ‘Judy Joo captures the flavors and the heart of Korean food and switches things up just enough to make them accessible and familiar, but not so much that you lose the soul of the recipe. It’s an art!’ Sunny Anderson Fresh from the success of Korean Food Made Simple, chef Judy […] (Link to online store)

North Korea Journal
Michael Palin
Hutchinson, 2019

From the publisher’s website: A glimpse of life inside the world’s most secretive country, as told by Britain’s best-loved travel writer. In May 2018, former Monty Python stalwart and intrepid globetrotter Michael Palin spent two weeks in the notoriously secretive Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, a cut-off land without internet or phone signal, where the […] (Link to online store)

Printed in North Korea: The Art of Everyday Life in the DPRK
Nick Bonner
Phaidon, 2019

From the publisher’s website: Never-before-seen North Korea – a rare glimpse into the country behind the politics and the creativity behind the propaganda This incredible collection of prints dating from the 1950s to the twenty-first century is the only one of its kind in or outside North Korea. Depicting the everyday lives of the country’s […] (Link to online store)

Agriculture and Korean Economic History: Concise Farming Talk (Nongsa chiksŏl)
Seong Ho Jun
Palgrave, 2019

From the publisher’s website: This book is an economic history of the Chosŏn dynasty (1392-1910). The Chosŏn dynasty is not only known for managing the northeastern regions of Asia for 500 years as the exemplars of Confucianism, their kingdom was also one of the greatest so-called “agricultural states under Heaven.” The Chosŏn dynasty has been […] (Link to online store)

Liking in Silence
Kim Sa-in tr Brother Anthony of Taizé, Susan Hwang
White Pine Press, 2019

From the publishers’ website: Kim Sa-in is a devotional poet who ably serves “all the unconsidered things in the world”–a cosmos flower, a turtle dove cooing near a firing range, the way a mourner offers a cup of wine to a widow. His eye for ordinary details that resonate in their new settings, his ability to […] (Link to online store)

The Shaman’s Wages: Trading in Ritual on Cheju Island
Kyoim Yun
University of Washington Press, 2019

From the publisher’s website: Breaking from previous scholarship on Korean shamanism, which focuses on mansin of mainland Korea, The Shaman’s Wages offers the first in-depth study of simbang, hereditary shamans on Cheju Island off the peninsula’s southwest coast. In this engaging ethnography enriched by extensive historical research, Kyoim Yun explores the prevalent and persistent ambivalence toward practitioners, whose services have […] (Link to online store)

The Power of Nunchi: The Korean Secret to Happiness and Success
Y Euny Hong
Penguin, 2019

From the publisher’s website: ‘A must-read for anyone interested in the art of intuitively knowing what others feel.’ Haemin Sunim, author of The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down and Love for Imperfect Things ‘A lovely book to have in your home and your lives.’ Chris Evans, Breakfast Show Nunchi (noon-chee): eye measure. The subtle art of gauging other […] (Link to online store)

The Devil’s Playground: Inside America’s Defense of the Deadly Korean DMZ
Gary Bloomfield
Rowman + Littlefield, 2019

From the publisher’s website: The Devil’s Playground is a timely account of what it is like to serve along perhaps the most dangerous and sensitive strip of land in the world. In recent months two bullet-riddled attempted escapes from North to South brought worldwide headlines. And with Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un exchanging threats, the world hopes […] (Link to online store)

Poems from Korea: From the Earliest Era to the Present
Ed Peter H Lee tr Peter H Lee
Routledge, 2019

From the publisher’s website: The Koreans, according to the Chinese chronicles, are ‘the people who enjoy singing and dancing’ and who regaled their gods with dance and song. Since then poetry has been an essential part of Korean life and has been regarded as the highest of the arts. In this first comprehensive anthology of […] (Link to online store)

Religions of Old Korea
Charles Allen Clark
Routledge, 2019

From the publisher’s website: This book, first published in 1932, was written by a Western expert on Korea, and was the first to thoroughly investigate and document the old religious practices of Korea. No book like this could be written again from original sources, for all of the data has passed away, and archival records […] (Link to online store)

Hanyang Kut: Korean Shaman Ritual Music from Seoul
Maria K Seo
Routledge, 2019

From the publisher’s website: This volume, first published in 2002, presents a sophisticated analysis of the musical instruments, repertoires, musicians and ensembles, and symbolism of the ritual music of Shamans of Seoul, Korea. Placed firmly in a social and historical context, it shows that Shamanism, considered superstition by many today, is alive and well in […] (Link to online store)

An embroidery sampler (K-Poet 08)
Kim Jung-hwan tr Kim Jung-whan
Asia Publishers, 2019

Text from the Kyobo bookstore and google translate: The first collection of poetry from Han-Young University, covering all of Korea’s leading poets Kim Jeong- hwan’s new poetry book An embroidery sampler The K-Poet series that draws the essence of Korean poetry that you always want to read at your bedside, translates it into English, and […] (Link to online store)

Evening of the Whale (K-Poet 07)
Chung Il Keun tr Daniel Parker, Ji YoungShil
Asia Publishers, 2019

Text from Kyobo bookstore and google translate: The first collection of poems from Han-Young University, covering all of Korea’s leading poets The K-Poet series that draws the essence of Korean poetry that you always want to read at your bedside, translates it into English, and distributes it to the domestic and international markets. The only […] (Link to online store)

I Met Loh Kiwan
Cho Hae-jin tr Lee Ji-eun
University of Hawai'i Press, 2019

This captivating short novel follows the journey of North Korean refugee Loh Kiwan to a place where he doesn’t speak the language or understand the customs. Loh’s story of hardship and determination is gradually revealed in flashbacks by the narrator, Kim, a writer for a South Korean TV show, who learned about Loh from a […] (Link to online store)

Grass
Keum Suk Gendry-Kim tr Janet Hong
Drawn + Quarterly, 2019

From the publisher’s website: This true story of a Korean “comfort woman” documents how the atrocity of war devastates women’s lives. Grass is a powerful anti-war graphic novel, offering up firsthand the life story of a Korean girl named Okseon Lee who was forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese Imperial Army during the second […] (Link to online store)

K-Pop Idols: Popular Culture and the Emergence of the Korean Music Industry
Dal Yong Jin, Hark Joon Lee
Lexington Books, 2019

From the publisher’s website: Converging theory and practice, this book provides a unique analysis of Korean youth’s attempts to become global celebrities within the growing K-pop phenomenon, which is rapidly becoming part of global media systems and culture. K-pop has become one of the most popular cultural forms in the global music markets, despite having […] (Link to online store)

East Goes West
Younghill Kang
Penguin, 2019

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 […] (Link to online store)

Bojagi – Korean Textile Art: technique, design and inspiration
Sara Cook
Pavillion, 2019

From the publisher’s website: An exploration of traditional Koran textile art techniques. Bojagi, sometimes called Pojagi, is a traditional Korean textile art. Centuries old, it was originally textiles made for every day living with scraps of left-over fabrics artfully put together. They often resemble works of modern artists such as Mondrian and Klee. Today, the […] (Link to online store)

The Red Years: Forbidden Poems from Inside North Korea
Bandi tr Heinz Insu Fenkl
Zed Books, 2019

From the publisher’s website: Though North Korea holds the attention of the world, it is still rare for us to hear North Korean voices, beyond those few who have escaped. Known only by his pen name, the poet and author ‘Bandi’ stands as one of the most distinctive and original dissident writers to emerge from […] (Link to online store)

Global Perspectives on Korean Literature
Wook-Dong Kim
Palgrave, 2019

From the publisher’s website: This book explores Korean literature from a broadly global perspective from the mid-9th century to the present, with special emphasis on how it has been influenced by, as well as it has influenced, literatures of other nations. Beginning with the Korean version of the King Midas and his ass’s ears tale […] (Link to online store)

Being in North Korea
Andray Abrahamian
Shorenstein APARC, 2019

From the publisher’s website: In 2010, while working on a PhD in South Korea, Andray Abrahamian visited the other Korea, a country he had studied for years but never seen. He returned determined to find a way to work closely with North Koreans. Ten years and more than thirty visits later, Being in North Korea tells the story […] (Link to online store)

Shedding of the Petals
Cho Jihoon tr Lee Insoo, Lee Sung-il
Cross Cultural Communications, 2019

From the description in Amazon This is a bilingual (Korean-English) poetry collection by Cho Jihoon, translated and introduced by Sung-Il Lee with two poems translated by Insoo Lee. Edited by Stanley H. Barken. This volume will timely commemorate the centennial of the birth of a twentieth-century Korean poet, Cho Jihoon (1920-1968). The poet’s perceptions of […] (Link to online store)

Diplomacy, Trade, and South Korea’s Rise to International Influence
Dennis Patterson, Jangsup Choi
Lexington Books, 2019

From the publisher’s website: This volume details how the diplomatic successes of South Korean presidents removed the country from the international isolation it experienced in the aftermath of the Korean War and also provided the necessary international connections for the expansions of international trade it experienced. Patterson and Choi explain how diplomacy then was the […] (Link to online store)

Blood Sisters
Kim Yideum tr Lee Jiyoon
Deep Vellum, 2019

Blood Sisters tells the story of Jeong Yeoul, a young Korean college student in the 1980’s, when the memory of President Chun Doohwan’s violent suppression of student demonstrations against martial law was still fresh. Yideum captures with raw honesty the sense of dread felt by many Korean women during this time as Jeong struggles in a […] (Link to online store) LKL Review

A Korean Scholar’s Rude Awakening in Qing China: Pak Chega’s Discourse on Northern Learning
Pak Chega tr Choi Byonghyon, Seung B Kye, Timothy V Atkinson
University of Hawai'i Press, 2019

From the publisher’s website: Two years after Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations was published in 1776, Pak Chega’s (1750–1805) Discourse on Northern Learning appeared on the opposite corner of the globe. Both books presented notions of wealth and the economy for critical review: the former caused a stir across Europe, the latter influenced only a modest group of Chosŏn […] (Link to online store)

Sovereignty Experiments: Korean Migrants and the Building of Borders in Northeast Asia, 1860–1945
Alyssa M Park
Cornell East Asia Series, 2019

From the publisher’s website: Sovereignty Experiments tells the story of how authorities in Korea, Russia, China, and Japan—through diplomatic negotiations, border regulations, legal categorization of subjects and aliens, and cultural policies—competed to control Korean migrants as they suddenly moved abroad by the thousands in the late nineteenth century. Alyssa M. Park argues that Korean migrants were […] (Link to online store)

Marilyn and Me
Lee Ji-min tr Kim Chi-young
Fourth Estate, 2019

Historical fiction, based on true events, about two women who seem the most unlikely to ever meet: Alice, a Korean war survivor and translator for the American forces in Seoul, and Marilyn Monroe, who is visiting Korea on a four-day USO tour. February 1954. Although the Korean War armistice was signed a year ago, most citizens of […] (Link to online store) LKL Review

Korean: A Comprehensive Grammar
Jaehoon Yeon, Lucien Brown
Routledge, 2019

From the publisher’s website: Korean: A Comprehensive Grammar is a reference to Korean grammar, and presents a thorough overview of the language, concentrating on the real patterns of use in modern Korean. The book moves from the alphabet and pronunciation through morphology and word classes to a detailed analysis of sentence structures and semantic features such […] (Link to online store)

The Nine Cloud Dream
Kim Man-jung tr Heinz Insu Fenkl
Penguin, 2019

A Buddhist journey reminscent of Dante’s Inferno exploring the illusions of human life, published here in the first new translation in forty years Often considered the greatest work of classic Korean fiction, The Nine Cloud Dream poses the question: will the life we dream of truly make us happy? A historical novel set in 9th-century […] (Link to online store)

Miracle on Cherry Hill
Hwang Sun-mi tr Kim Chi-young
Abacus, 2019

This is the story of a man named Kang Dae-su. His whole life is a miracle, rising from poverty to running a successful construction company. In his twilight years, Kang is diagnosed with a brain tumour. He returns to his childhood home of Cherry Hill. He acquires a crumbling old house in which to retreat […] (Link to online store)

A Cruelty Special to Our Species
Emily Jungmin Yoon
Ecco Books, 2019

From the publisher’s website: A piercing debut collection of poems exploring gender, race, and violence from a sensational new talent In her arresting collection, urgently relevant for our times, poet Emily Jungmin Yoon confronts the histories of sexual violence against women, focusing in particular on Korean so-called “comfort women,” women who were forced into sexual labor in […] (Link to online store)

North Korea: What Everyone Needs to Know®
Patrick McEachern
Oxford University Press, 2019

From the publisher’s website: After a year of trading colorful barbs with the American president and significant achievements in North Korea’s decades-long nuclear and missile development programs, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared mission accomplished in November 2017. Though Kim’s pronouncement appears premature, North Korea is on the verge of being able to strike […] (Link to online store)

Korean Memories and Psycho-Historical Fragmentation
Ed Mikyoung Kim
Palgrave, 2019

From the publisher’s website: This pioneering book is the first English volume on Korean memories. In it, Mikyoung Kim introduces ‘psycho-historical fragmentation’, a concept that explains South Korea’s mnemonic rupture as a result of living under intense temporal, psychological and physical pressure. As Korean society has undergone transformation at unusual speed and intensity, so has […] (Link to online store)

Europa
Han Kang tr Deborah Smith
Strangers Press, 2019

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 […] (Link to online store)

Milena, Milena, Ecstatic
Bae Suah tr Deborah Smith
Strangers Press, 2019

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, […] (Link to online store)

Kong’s Garden (Yeoyu)
Hwang Jungeun tr Jeon Seung-hee
Strangers Press, 2019

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 […] (Link to online store)

Left’s Right, Right’s Left
Han Yujoo tr Janet Hong
Strangers Press, 2019

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 […] (Link to online store)

Five Preludes and a Fugue
Cheon Hee-rahn tr Emily Yae Won
Strangers Press, 2019

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) […] (Link to online store)

Old Wrestler
Jeon Sung-tae tr Sora Kim-Russell
Strangers Press, 2019

A retired wrestler struggles with amnesia and anxiety after he is invited to return to his home town for an event. Back in once-familiar surroundings, he wrestles to make sense of things as he is confronted by faces, scenes and smells recalled from a celebrated past. (Link to online store)

Demons
Kang Hwa-gil tr Mattho Mandersloot
Strangers Press, 2019

Set in a small rural village, seemingly everyday events take on a macabre meaning. We follow Kim Miyoung, a relatively new villager and the local primary school teacher, as she is slowly overcome by anxiety, with her daughter at the vulnerable young age of three, a difficult group of schoolboys under her wing and her […] (Link to online store)

Divorce
Kim Soom tr Emily Yae Won
Strangers Press, 2019

A poet reflects on the lives of the different generations of women around her as she contemplates her own divorce from a socially-engaged photographer; her feelings are complicated by the ethics of public/private, art/life divisions, as well as the country’s contemporary history. The story reveals the raw complexity of gender dynamics in a society still […] (Link to online store)

The Great Successor
Anna Fifield
John Murray, 2019

From the publisher’s website: The Great Successor is an irreverent yet insightful quest to understand the life of Kim Jong Un, one of the world’s most secretive dictators. Kim’s life is swathed in myth and propaganda, from the plainly silly–he supposedly ate so much Swiss cheese that his ankles gave way–to the grimly bloody stories of […] (Link to online store)

The Rise of K-Dramas: Essays on Korean Television and Its Global Consumption
Ed JaeYoon Park and Ann-Gee Lee
McFarland, 2019

From the publisher’s website: Korean dramas gained popularity across Asia in the late 1990s, and their global fandom continues to grow. Despite cultural differences, non-Asian audiences find “K-dramas” appealing. Diverse in both content and form, they range from historical melodrama and romantic comedy to action, horror, sci-fi and thriller. Devotees pursue an immersive fandom, consuming […] (Link to online store)

Revisiting Minjung: New Perspectives on the Cultural History of 1980s South Korea
Ed Sunyoung Park
University of Michigan Press, 2019

From the publisher’s website: An epoch-marking alliance of laborers, students, dissident intellectuals, and ordinary citizens was at the heart of South Korea’s transformation from a dictatorship into a vibrant democracy during the 1980s. Collectively known as the minjung (“the people”), these agents of Korean democratization historically carved out an expanded role for civil society in the country’s […] (Link to online store)

A Bird in Flight Leaves No Trace: The Zen Teaching of Huangbo with a Modern Commentary
Seon Master Subul tr Robert E Buswell Jr, Seong-uk Kim
Wisdom Publications, 2019

From the publisher’s website: The message of the Tang-dynasty Zen text in this volume seems simple: to gain enlightenment, stop thinking there is something you need to practice. For the Chinese master Huangbo Xiyun (d. 850), the mind is enlightenment itself if we can only let go of our normal way of thinking. The celebrated […] (Link to online store)

South Korean Identity and Global Foreign Policy: Dream of Autonomy
Patrick Flamm
Routledge, 2019

From the publisher’s website: In the 20th century, South Korea was usually seen as a “shrimp amongst whales”, a minor player with limited agency in regional and global affairs. Korea’s risen status as a “middle power” today, however, begs the question about related changes in the South Korean identity or “sense of self” in the […] (Link to online store)

Hanguk Hip Hop: Global Rap in South Korea
Myoung-sun Song
Palgrave, 2019

From the publisher’s website: How has Hanguk (South Korean) hip hop developed over the last two decades as a musical, cultural, and artistic entity? How is hip hop understood within historical, sociocultural, and economic matrices of Korean society? How is hip hop represented in Korean media and popular culture? This book utilizes ethnographic methods, including […] (Link to online store)

Bari’s Love Song
Kang Eun-gyo tr Chung Eun-gwi
Parlor Press, 2019

From the back cover: In her early career, Kang Eun-Gyo marked nihilism as the departure of her poetic imagination. In response to the turmoil of the world and modern Korean history full of violence and violations of human rights, the poet struggled to build her poetry in a house of nothingness. With Bari’s Love Song, […] (Link to online store)

‘Difficult Heritage’ in Nation Building: South Korea and Post-Conflict Japanese Colonial Occupation Architecture
Hyun Kyung Lee
Palgrave, 2019

From the publisher’s website: This book explores South Korean responses to the architecture of the Japanese colonial occupation of Korea and the ways that architecture illustrates the relationship between difficult heritage and the formation of national identity. Detailing the specific case of Seoul, Hyun Kyung Lee investigates how buildings are selectively destroyed, preserved, or reconstructed […] (Link to online store)

BTS, Art Revolution
Lee Jiyoung tr Chae Myungji, Lee Shinwoo, Stella Kim, Won Jiye
parrhesia, 2019

Publisher description: Recently, a seven-member boy band from Korea called BTS has captivated the globe, forming the most massive and powerful fandom in history. The BTS phenomenon reaches far beyond the typical achievements of pop stars: as Jiyoung Lee illustrates, the changes that have been shown by BTS and their fandom ARMY are not confined […] (Link to online store)

Chang-mo (K-Fiction 025)
Woo Da-young tr Stella Kim
Asia Publishers, 2019

As this is an Asia Publishers title, it’s pretty difficult to obtain outside of Korea. Text from the listing on Kyobo website, fed through the Papago translation engine: An inner crevice, a subtle look in between In April 2019, Woo Da-young’s “Changmo” was published as the 25th work of K-fiction. Woo Da-young began her work […] (Link to online store)

Flowers of Mold and Other Stories
Ha Seong-nan tr Janet Hong
Open Letter, 2019

On the surface, Ha Seong-Nan’s stories seem pleasant enough, yet there’s always something disturbing just below the surface, ready to permanently disrupt the characters’ lives. A woman meets her next-door neighbour and loans her a spatula, then starts suffering horrific gaps in her memory. A security guard falls in love with a magician/petty thief, and […] (Link to online store)

Have You Been Feeling Blue These Days?
Kim Eon-hee tr Kim Eunsong, Kim Sung-gi
Noemi Press, 2019

From the publisher’s website: Kim Eon Hee was born in 1953 in Jinju, Gyeongsang Province. She is the author of five volumes of poetry. Her first collection Modern Ars Poetica was published in 1989. Followed by, Trunk, The Girl who Sleeps Under a Withering Cherry Tree, Unexpected Response, and her latest from 2016 The Man I Miss. First published in […] (Link to online store)

Top-Down Democracy in South Korea
Erik Mobrand
University of Washington Press, 2019

From the publisher’s website: While popular movements in South Korea rightly grab the headlines for forcing political change and holding leaders to account, those movements are only part of the story of the construction and practice of democracy. In Top-Down Democracy in South Korea, Erik Mobrand documents another part – the elite-led design and management of […] (Link to online store)

Foreign Friends: Syngman Rhee, American Exceptionalism, and the Division of Korea
David P Fields
University of Kentucky, 2019

From the publisher’s website: The division of Korea in August 1945 was one of the most consequential foreign policy decisions of the twentieth century. Despite the enormous impact this split has had on international relations from the Cold War to the present, comparatively little has been done to explain the decision. In Foreign Friends: Syngman Rhee, […] (Link to online store)

Readymade Bodhisattva
Ed Sunyoung Park and Sang Joon Park tr Adrian Thieret, Dagmar van Engen, Esther Song, Eunhae Jo, Gord Sellar, Haerin Shin, Jenny Wang Medina, Jihyun Park, Kimberly Chung, Kyunghee Eo, Melissa Mei-lin Chan, Randi Vaughan, Sora Kim-Russell, Sunyoung Park, Travis Workman
Kaya, 2019

Readymade Bodhisattva: The Kaya Anthology of South Korean Science Fiction presents the first book-length English-language translation of science and speculative fiction from South Korea, bringing together 13 classic and contemporary stories from the 1960s through the 2010s. From the reimagining of an Asimovian robot inside the walls of a Buddhist temple and a postapocalyptic showdown […] (Link to online store)

Diary of a Murderer, and other stories
Kim Young-ha tr Krys Lee
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019

Kim Byeongsu is losing his mind. Quite literally. He keeps forgetting the little things in life, like basic words, whether or not he has a dog, the last time he killed someone… In his prime, Byeongsu was one of the best murderers around, spending years obsessively trying to perfect his technique, only killing in the […] (Link to online store) LKL Review

East Asian Art History in a Transnational Context
Ed Eriko Tomizawa-Kay, Toshio Watanabe
Routledge, 2019

From the publisher’s website: This is the first comprehensive English-language study of East Asian art history in a transnational context, and challenges the existing geographic, temporal, and generic paradigms that currently frame the art history of East Asia. This pioneering study proposes an important new framework that focuses on the relationship between China, Japan, and […] (Link to online store)

The Rabbit’s Tale 2020
Park Duk-kyu tr Brother Anthony of Taizé
Homa + Sekey, 2019

The Korean classical novel Rabbit’s Tale (kor. Toggijeon) tells the story of a Dragon King who falls ill, and learns that only the special properties found in a rabbit’s liver can make him well again. He sends a terrapin ashore to find the rabbit and trick him into coming to the Dragon Palace. The rabbit […] (Link to online store)

Gender and Class in Contemporary South Korea: Intersectionality and Transnationality
Ed Hae Yeon Choo, John Lie, Laura C. Nelson
Univ of California Berkeley Institute of East Asian Studies, 2019

From the publisher’s website: This volume of essays by leading critical scholars examines gender and class in twenty-first-century South Korea from a transnational and intersectional perspective. Although gender and class have been central concerns in research on Korea for some time, studies have primarily focused on the role of gender and class in South Korea’s […] (Link to online store)

Korea and the World: New Frontiers in Korean Studies
Ed Gregg A. Brazinsky
Lexington Books, 2019

From the publisher’s website: This edited volume brings together a set of essays exploring the global dimensions of Korea’s recent history and politics by a group of the most talented young scholars. Essays in the volume seek to answer two interrelated questions: How have international developments impacted Korea? And how has Korea in turn influenced […] (Link to online store)

Translations in Korea: Theory and Practice
Wook-Dong Kim
Palgrave, 2019

From the publisher’s website; This book explores practical and theoretical approaches to translation in Korea from the 16th century onwards, examining a variety of translations done in Korea from a diachronic perspective. Offering a discussion of the methodology for translating the Xiaoxue (Lesser or Elementary Learning), a primary textbook for Confucianism in China and other […] (Link to online store)

King Chŏngjo, an Enlightened Despot in Early Modern Korea
Christopher Lovins
SUNY, 2019

Publisher description: The first detailed analysis in English of monarchy and governance in Korea during King Chŏngjo’s reign. Were the countries of Europe the only ones that were “early modern”? Was Asia’s early modernity cut short by colonialism? Scholars examining early modern Eurasia have not yet fully explored the relationships between absolute rule and political […] (Link to online store) LKL Review

Korea’s Premier Collection of Classical Literature: Selections from Sŏ Kŏjŏng’s Tongmunsŏn
Ed Sŏ Kŏjŏng, James B Lewis, Xin Wei tr James B Lewis, Xin Wei
University of Hawai'i Press, 2019

From the publisher’s website: This is the first book in English to offer an extensive introduction to the Tongmunsŏn (Selections of Refined Literature of Korea)—the largest and most important Korean literary collection created prior to the twentieth century—as well as translations of essays from key chapters. The Tongmunsŏn was compiled in 1478 by Sŏ Kŏjŏng […] (Link to online store)

Korean Adoptees and Transnational Adoption: Embodiment and Emotion
Jessica Walton
Routledge, 2019

From the publisher’s website: This book investigates the experiences of South Koreans adopted into Western families and the complexity of what it means to “feel identity” beyond what is written in official adoption files. Korean Adoptees and Transnational Adoption is based on ethnographic fieldwork in South Korea and interviews with adult Korean adoptees from the United […] (Link to online store)

Hysteria
Kim Yideum tr Hedgie Choi, Jake Levine, Soeun Seo
Action Books, 2019

Publisher description: Next to the burning police station I want to tear out my womb and kick it to heaven. Kim Yideum’s second collection to appear in English continues to evoke the grotesqueries of her first work, while simultaneously delving further into the materiality of everyday life. Through an overflowing that echoes fellow feminist poet […] (Link to online store)

A Drink of Red Mirror
Kim Hyesoon tr Jiwon Shin, Lauren Albin, Sue Hyon Bae
Action Books, 2019

Publisher description: A hole walked in while I was removing my makeup I sat down on the couch and took off my pantyhose I looked at the hole A landmark feminist poet and critic in her native South Korea, Kim Hyesoon’s surreal, dagger-sharp poetry has spread from hemisphere to hemisphere in the past ten years, […] (Link to online store)

What Makes a City
Park Seongwon tr Andrew James Keast, Chang Chung-hwa
White Pine Press, 2019

What Makes a City? provides the reader with an intelligent perspective on the strange culture of our times and a series of adventures through which we explore universal human problems. Family, education, the media, popular culture, technology, alienation, financial power or the lack thereof . . . These are among the most prominent components of […] (Link to online store)

Vicious Circuits: Korea’s IMF Cinema and the End of the American Century
Joseph Jonghyun Jeon
Stanford University Press, 2019

Publisher description: In December of 1997, the International Monetary Fund announced the largest bailout package in its history, aimed at stabilizing the South Korean economy in response to a credit and currency crisis of the same year. Vicious Circuits examines what it terms “Korea’s IMF Cinema,” the decade of cinema following that crisis, in order to think […] (Link to online store)

Beyond Death: the politics of suicide and martyrdom in Korea
Ed Charles R. Kim, Jungwon Kim, Hwasook B. Nam and Serk-Bae Suh tr Sixiang Wang, Youngju Ryu
University of Washington Press, 2019

From the publisher’s website: Suicide and martyrdom are closely intertwined with Korean social and political processes. In this first book-length study of the evolving ideals of honorable death and martyrdom from the Chosŏn Dynasty (1392–1910) to contemporary South Korea, interdisciplinary essays explore the changing ways in which Korean historical agents have considered what constitutes a […] (Link to online store)

Tokyo Ueno Station
Yu Miri tr Morgan Giles
Tilted Axis, 2019

From the publisher’s website: Finalist, the 2020 National Book Awards Winner, TA First Translation Prize Born in Fukushima in 1933, the same year as the Emperor, Kazu’s life is tied by a series of coincidences to Japan’s Imperial family and to one particular spot in Tokyo; the park near Ueno Station – the same place […] (Link to online store)

Disrupting Kinship: Transnational Politics of Korean Adoption in the United States
Kimberly McKee
University of Illinois Press, 2019

From the publisher’s website: Korean adoption and the legacies of gratitude Since the Korean War began, Western families have adopted more than 200,000 Korean children. Two-thirds of these adoptees found homes in the United States. The majority joined white families and in the process forged a new kind of transnational and transracial kinship. Kimberly D. […] (Link to online store)

Entrepreneurial Seoulite: Culture and Subjectivity in Hongdae, Seoul
Mihye Cho
University of Michigan Press, 2019

From the publisher’s website: Entrepreneurial Seoulite might be read as a memoir on Hongdae based on the author’s observations as a member of South Korea’s Generation X. During the 1990’s, Hongdae became widely known as a cool place associated with discourses on alternative music, independent labels, and club culture. Today, Hongdae is well known for its […] (Link to online store)

Religious and Philosophical Traditions of Korea
Kevin Cawley
Routledge, 2019

From the publisher’s website: Religious and Philosophical Traditions of Korea addresses a wide range of traditions, serving as a guide to those interested in Buddhism, Confucianism, Shamanism, Christianity and many others. It brings readers along a journey from the past to the present, moving beyond the confines of the Korean peninsula. In this book Kevin N. […] (Link to online store)

The Plotters
Kim Un-su tr Sora Kim-Russell
Fourth Estate, 2019

Plotters are just pawns like us. A request comes in and they draw up the plans. There’s someone above them who tells them what to do. And above that person is another plotter telling them what to do. You think that if you go up there with a knife and stab the person at the […] (Link to online store) LKL Review

Against Healing: Nine Korean Poets
Ed Emily Jungmin Yoon tr Emily Jungmin Yoon
Tilted Axis, 2019

From the publisher’s website: Translating Feminisms showcases intimate collaborations and conversations between some of Asia’s most exciting women writers and emerging-star translators: contemporary poetry of labour and language, alongside essays exploring how, where and by whom feminist writing and women’s bodies are translated. Against Healing showcases poems by Kim Hyesoon, Choi Young-Mi, Kim Seon-U, Kim […] (Link to online store)

Efficacious Underworld: The Evolution of Ten Kings Paintings in Medieval China and Korea
Cheeyun Lilian Kwon
University of Hawai'i Press, 2019

From the publisher’s website: The Ten Kings hanging scrolls at Tokyo’s Seikadō Bunko Art Museum are among the most resplendent renderings of the Buddhist purgatory extant, but their origin and significance have yet to be fully explored. Cheeyun Kwon unfurls this exquisite set of scrolls within the existing Ten Kings painting tradition while investigating textual, […] (Link to online store)

How to Break Up Like a Winner (K-Fiction 024)
Baek Young-ok tr Jamie Chang, Shin Hye-bin
Asia Publishers, 2019

Verbatim from Amazon.com: Emotions of Love b Farewell farewell, story of people who can not break apart b February 2019, K-fiction is the twenty-fourth piece, Baek Young-oks ” Baek Young-ok is a novelist, “Cat Shanti,” who won the Literary Neighborhood New Artist Award and started his work. In 2008, he won the 4th World Literature […] (Link to online store)

Run Away (K-Fiction 023)
Cho Nam-joo tr Miseli Jeon
Asia Publishers, 2019

Good luck in tracking this book down The only English language site that seems to list it at present is Goodreads. But a little more googling highlights a Korean store that sells it: https://www.aladin.co.kr/shop/wproduct.aspx?ItemId=173800562 You would have thought, with all the buzz about Kim Ji-young Born 1982, that Asia Publishers would try a bit harder […]

Silvery World and Other Stories
Ed Michael J Pettid tr Brother Anthony of Taizé, Eugene Larsen-Hallock, Jamie Chang, Sora Kim-Russell
Cornell East Asia Series, 2019

From the publisher’s website: This anthology is an exciting new collection of Korean fiction in translation from the early years of the twentieth century that demonstrate the political and ideological divides that Koreans experienced during this time. Contains the following stories: Cho Myŏng-hŭi : Naktong River tr Bro. Anthony of Taize Ch’oe Chansik: The Shore […] (Link to online store)

Love for Imperfect Things: How to Accept Yourself in a World Striving for Perfection
Haemin Sunim tr Deborah Smith
Penguin, 2019

From the publisher’s website: From the author of the phenomenal multi-million copy bestseller The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down “Hearing the words ‘be good to yourself first, then to others’ was like being struck by lightning.” Many of us respond to the pressures of life by turning inwards and ignoring problems, sometimes […] (Link to online store)

South Korea’s Demographic Dividend: Echoes of the Past or Prologue to the Future?
Elizabeth Hervey Stephen
Rowman + Littlefield, 2019

From the publisher’s website: South Korea’s Demographic Dividend: Echoes of the Past or Prologue to the Future? weaves together the compelling story of social and demographic effects of the economic miracle in South Korea. This exploration of social change examines the demographic dividend: a window of time when a large percentage of a country’s population […] (Link to online store)