Chae Man-sik: Peace Under Heaven

English Translation: ME Sharpe, 1993. Originally published in 1938 An entertaining comedy chronicling a day or so in the life of a lecherous, foul-mouthed nouveau riche landlord. It captures a snapshot of Seoul under Japanese colonial occupation, but the Japanese impinge very little on the narrative. The book has larger than life characters — the […]

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. […]