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Brochure: Bae Suah


■ Bae Suah is among the rarities even in the Korean literary scene. It wouldn't do to misunderstand the properties of the word 'rarities' here; because it is used only to mean that her works are relatively 'different' from those of other writers. Rather, if we pursue the meaning hidden in the space between her works, its emergence within the large context of the literary world is easily understood. But if the writer’s mission is to break apart clichéd parts of the literary world that comprise of collections of texts, and eliminate the stillborn elements that stiffen the literary world, Bae Suah appears to be serving precisely that mission. Her previous works – story collections Highway with Green Apples, and novellas/novels including Wind Doll, Nowhere to Be Found, Sunday Sukiyaki Restaurant, Midnight Report, The Absence of the Owls, North-Facing Living Room, Inscrutable Nights and Days – occupied a peerless position even within the postmodernist current of the Korean literary establishment from the 1990s onwards. Bae Suah's works were criticized as lacking popular appeal due to their abstruseness or multiplicity of interpretation, but when examined from the present perspective, that can be seen as in fact because of their keen awareness of the period that would follow. Moreover, her talent as a translator has been recognized through 'good translation'.


But more than anything else, the importance of Bae Suah's works is their extending of the category of 'literature' by way of the structural frame known as 'the literary establishment'. Especially if we examine in this context the case of North-Facing Living Room and Inscrutable Nights and Days, which was published afterwards, it does not stop in that her sentences no longer represent letters as they are or indict the materiality of relationships/dreams; they can be understood to be absorbed in turning letters into images and destroying/rebuilding relationships/dreams. Ultimately her substitution of the concept of literature with the word 'work' signifies that the 'practice' comprised in that should be read. And so the task of examining Bae Suah's work as a writer augurs the future of Korean postmodern literature and at the same time makes us anticipate 'literature' of a certain cast being born anew between her and the literary establishment.


Amazon Crossing representative Sarah Jane Gunter, who recently published her novel, Nowhere to Be Found, clarified their wish for “American readers to also discover the creative and pre-eminent literary world of Bae Suah, and to continue publishing this writer's works for several years”.


Furthermore, her short story Highway with Green Apples, which was introduced last December through the first edition of Amazon's online journal Day One, is scheduled to be published in October in a collection of short stories together with those by up-and-coming American novelists. This collection records twelve short stories and six poems selected from among the 70-odd works introduced in Day One, and is scheduled to be published as a paper book and e-book simultaneously.

International Events (3)

Translated Books (12)