Brief review: Jeong You-jeong – The Good Son

Jeong You-jeong: The Good Son Translated by Kim Chi-young Little, Brown Book Group, 2018, 322pp Originally published as 종의 기원, Eunhaengnamu, 2016 A Good Son is one of the books being hailed as the new Scandi Noir, while Amazon is billing it as “The bestselling Korean thriller of the year” – though in a Korean genre that […]

June Literature Night: A conversation with Kim Aeran

June’s literature night is a special event: a discussion with Kim Aeran about the texts set for the recent essay contest, and the announcement of the winner. A discussion with author Kim Aeran Wednesday 27 June, 18:00-20:45 Venue: Korean Cultural Centre UK Entrance Free – Booking Essential. Apply to info@kccuk.org.uk or call 020 7004 2600 […]

Book review: Shin Kyung-sook – The Girl Who Wrote Loneliness

Shin Kyung-sook: The Girl Who Wrote Loneliness Translated by Jung Ha-yun Pegasus Book, New York, 2015, 369pp Originally published as 외딴방, Munhakdongne, 1995 When reading Ahn Jung-hyo’s White Badge, I found myself wondering why, despite what I thought was my general antipathy to novels with listless central characters who can’t seem to find their way […]

May Literature Night: Hwang Sok-yong’s The Old Garden

Continuing the KCC’s season of screen adaptations of Korean novels. May Literature Night: Hwang Sok-yong’s The Old Garden 30 May 2018, 19.00-21.00 Venue: Korean Cultural Centre UK Entrance Free – Booking Essential. Apply to info@kccuk.org.uk or call 020 7004 2600 with your name and contact details by Thursday 10th May. The booking system utilises a […]

Book Review: Ahn Jung-hyo – White Badge

Ahn Jung-hyo: White Badge Soho Press, NY, 1989, 337pp Originally published as 하얀전쟁, 1983 Translated by the author If I saw Jeong Ji-young’s White Badge (1992) when it screened in London eight years ago, I do not remember it. I cannot imagine having a similar lapse of memory concerning Ahn Jung-hyo’s Vietnam war novel on […]

Book review: Yi Kwang-su — The Soil

Yi Kwang-su: The Soil Translated by Hwang Sun-ae and Horace Jeffery Hodges Dalkey Archive, 2013, 512pp Originally published as 흙, 1932-3 Yi Kwang-su’s The Soil, at over 500 pages long, is not a book that immediately entices you to read it. But with a screening of Kim Ki-young’s adaptation of the novel coming up shortly […]

The Kim Aeran essay contest: so far, so good

I struggled with previous KLTI Essay Contests. With There a Petal Silently Falls, having read it three times, I still couldn’t find an angle into it, and although I wrote an essay it was a pretty uninspired offering. With Who Ate Up all the Shinga, I probably enjoyed the book more, but again couldn’t really connect […]

A look back at some of the books of 2017

This year, I haven’t even come close to keeping up with the volume of newly-published literature in translation, let alone the plethora of new non-fiction. Perhaps to balance my feelings of guilt at falling behind the pace of new publications, I’ve tried to make inroads into my guilt pile in respect of previous years – […]

Kim Ae-ran: The Essay Contest

UPDATE: Deadline now extended to 30 April 2018. It’s been ages since we last had an essay contest. If I remember right, we’ve had two that have been specifically targeted at UK-based readers: back in 2009 we had one based on Ch’oe Yun’s There a Petal Silently Falls, and then the following year we were […]

On reading Han Kang’s White Book by the pool

In general, I tend not to read much literary fiction. If I’m reading stuff which is unrelated to Korea, it’s likely to be either non-fiction or easy reading – a detective story or something reasonably lightweight. When it comes to Korea-related reading, until relatively recently the balance has again been in favour of non-fiction. But […]