Upcoming literature and fiction titles for 2019

Here’s my first attempt at compiling a list of fiction and poetry titles coming up in 2019. Let me know what I’ve missed. Unlike my separate list of non-fiction I have not exercised any editorial control here: this is everything I have been able to find. The list is in four parts: Modern and contemporary […]

A look back at the 2018 literary year

A look back at the books and literary events of the year – and a summary of my reading diary. Literature in translation In translated fiction, my reading this year has not managed anywhere near to keep pace with the amount of translations being published. I know I said the same in respect of 2017 […]

November literature night: Mary Lynn Bracht’s White Chrysanthemum

A break from tradition this month. November’s book for discussion is a novel written in English, rather than one translated from the Korean. We’ll be there because we rather liked the book. White Chrysanthemum: A discussion with author Mary Lynn Bracht Wednesday 28 November, 19.00-21.00 Venue: Korean Cultural Centre UK Entrance Free – Booking Essential. […]

New books for the summer

A couple of new books to take with you on your summer break – or, more likely in respect of the first on the list, to adorn your coffee table when you return. First, fulsomely reviewed by Andrew Salmon in Asia Times, comes Inside North Korea by The Guardian‘s architecture and design critic Oliver Wainwright […]

Pachinko featured in New York Times

There’s a nice feature on Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko in last weekend’s New York Times. I enjoyed the book myself though never got around to writing a review. It’s a very different work from her first novel, Free Food for Millionaires, which I described as a combination of Sex and the City and Wall Street, and […]

Inspector O in NYT feature

There’s a nice feature on James Church and his Inspector O series in the NYT. Well worth a read, as are the books themselves. Here’s a good quote from the article: “If you want to understand North Korea then you need to read Inspector O,” said Michael Madden, who has spent years studying the North […]

Krys Lee featured in the Guardian

There’s a really good interview with Krys Lee (Drifting House, How I Became a North Korean) in The Guardian: “The acclaimed short story writer talks about her debut novel, trying to understand her violent father and moving back from the US to South Korea”. The novel is available on Amazon from 18 August. Krys Lee […]

A look back at the books of 2015

In place of our annual “LKL Awards” post, we look at some of the highlights of 2015 in the area of books, film and music. Apart from the field of literature in translation (and of course I’m talking Han Kang here), there are no clear winners or I haven’t covered enough ground to choose one. […]

Book review: Giacomo Lee — Funereal

Giacomo Lee: Funereal Signal 8 Press, 2015, 230pp Giacomo Lee’s debut Funereal is fast-moving novel set very much in contemporary Seoul, and referencing so many contemporary issues in South Korea’s high-pressure society. Soobin, a marketing graduate whose genuine smile endears her to her customers in the doughnut takeaway store which is the only place she […]

Free short story by Heinz Insu Fenkl

Five Arrows, a short story by writer and translator Heinz Insu Fenkl is available in the August issue of New Yorker magazine. If you’re lazy there’s an audio version on Soundcloud available here. And at the bottom of the New Yorker webpage you’ll find a link to his translation of the Yi Mun-yol story which […]

Book Review: The Defections, by Hannah Michell. Put it on your wishlist

Hannah Michell: The Defections Quercus, 2014, 336pp THE BRITISH EMBASSY, SEOUL STAFF RECORD NAME: Kim, Mia D.O.B: 27/10/1979 POSITION: Translator REPORTS TO: Dalton-Ellis, Thomas NATIONALITY: Korean ETHNICITY: Mixed – Korean/British BACKGROUND NOTES: Born, was educated and lives in Seoul. Family – father, disabled – stepmother, seamstress – mother, English, unknown – uncle, runs school for […]

Book review: Martin Limón — The Joy Brigade

Martin Limón: The Joy Brigade Soho Press, 2012. 304pp Martin Limón’s eighth novel in the Ernie Bascom and George Sueño series covers new ground in many respects. It is the first novel in which we see Sueno on his own, not accompanied by his buddy Bascom. And it is the first time that Limon has […]