Book review: Kim In-suk — The Long Road

Kim In-suk: The Long Road Translated by Stephen J Epstein MerwinAsia, 2010, 113pp First published as 먼 길, 1995 When you hear a Korean abroad refer to the locals as “stupid whiteys”, and soon afterwards refer to his fellow countrymen as “mannerless gooks” you know you are dealing with someone who doesn’t feel at ease […]

Book Review: Hwang Sunmi — The Hen who Dreamed she could Fly

Hwang Sun-mi: The Hen who dreamed she could fly Translated by Kim Chi-young; illustrations by Nomoco Oneworld Publications, 2014, 124pp First published as 마당을 나온 암탉, 2000 A brief fable that can delight children and adults alike, the story touches on themes of motherly love, discrimination, otherness, and belonging, while also touching on and accepting […]

2014 Korean Literature Nights

Here are the Korean Literature discussion nights that the KCC has lined up for 2014: Wed 26 Feb Please Look After Mother by Shin Kyung-sook Please Look After Mother is the story of So-nyo, a wife and mother, who has lived a life of sacrifice and compromise. In the past she suffered a stroke, leaving […]

Book review: Yi Mun-yol — Our Twisted Hero

Yi Mun-yol: Our Twisted Hero Originally published 1987 Translated by Kevin O’Rourke Available on Kindle (Minumsa, 2012) or hard copy (Hyperion Books, 2001) Moving to the provinces from a school in Seoul in which the social hierarchy was one he had lived with all his life, our twelve-year-old hero Han Pyongt’ae is faced with a […]

Book Review: Your Republic is Calling You

Kim Young-ha: Your Republic is Calling You Translated by Kim Chi-young Harcourt, 2010. First published in Korean: 2006 Ki-yong, a North Korean agent, has lived undercover in Seoul for half his life. Inactive for the last 10 years, he is suddenly given an order to return home. Is the order a hoax? Is he being […]

Hwang Sok-yong: The Guest

(Seven Stories, 2005) The Guest of the title is an unwelcome foreigner: originally applied to smallpox, it is used by extension to cover the cultural imports of communism and Christianity. The theme of the book is that until the ghosts of the past are allowed to tell their story they cannot be laid to rest. […]