Sorok Island joined to the mainland

Yi Chong-jun’s (이청준) novel on the subject is called Your Paradise. Looking at the beach above you see maybe one reason. But Sorok Island (소록도) is Korea’s best known leper colony. As Brother Anthony explains, in Yi’s book, the subject is the relation between the individual and the collective. The setting is the remote leper […]

Last chance to see Oh Tae Seok’s masterpiece

The enigmatically titled Bicycle finishes this weekend. The play is performed by a western cast, in the English translation by Kim Ah-jeong and RB Graves, in Camden People’s Theatre, an intimate space (audience capacity around 40 I would reckon) near Euston Station. Oh Tae-Seok is known for making the audience work, skipping parts of the […]

Susie Younger: Never ending flower

Susie Younger: Never ending flower Collins Harvill, 1967 To describe this book as a memoir of a Catholic missionary in South Korea in the early 1960s, while factually correct, undersells it. Yes, the author is a person of deep Christian faith, but her work in Korea is more that of a social worker than evangelist. […]

Yi Chong-jun: Your paradise

(Green Integer, 2004) A puzzling story about the struggles of successive managers of a leper colony to improve the lot of the lepers. I think the Complete Review shares my puzzlement. One of the best-selling novels of 20th Century Korean literature, originally published in 1976.