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  • Five Korean Books Brimming with Hope
    Multilingual Works
    Five Korean Books Brimming with Hope

    November 28, 2023

    Everyone experiences loneliness from time to time. But that's when literature can offer us great comfort.  Jang Eun-Jin’s No One Writes Back features a man traveling aimlessly with his blind dog for three years. He writes letters to people he meets along the way, but no one replies. On the surface, it might seem like a simple story about a traveler’s loneliness, but we soon discover ourselves being drawn to the messages of hope within in his letters. In Kim Choyeop’s If We Can't Go at the Speed of Light, a scientist longingly remembers her family while grappling with unique struggles. Her story reminds us to persist in hope despite hardship. When despair looms, Bae Suah’s Untold Night and Day gives comforting escape. As we accompany the characters through the nights, we cross the boundary between dream and reality, and bask in a literary time that will heal our wounds. In Lee Seo Su’s Your 4’33, we are confronted with the pressures of a competitive society and the struggles it can bring. Yet, amidst the chaos, the story reminds us to cherish the present moment, where the seeds of hope reside. The very people who inflict deep wounds upon us can, in a twist of irony, become the source of our healing. Choi Eunyoung's Someone Harmless guides us through this essential journey of mending those wounds. Literature gives us the strength and comfort to rise from our pain. Literature is hope. ㅣNovel If We Can’t Go at the Speed of Light [Spanish]  Author Kim ChoyeopTranslator Joo HasunPublisher Temas de HoyYear Published 2022Originally published in Korea by Hubble in 2019 This is a collection of seven sci-fi stories. The titular story follows an elderly scientist who is away from her family to develop future technologies and the struggles she overcomes while waiting for the day she can meet her family again in a distant universe. If technological development is the “wrapping paper,” then the stories of these very human characters are the lyrical gift contained within. ㅣNovel Untold Night and Day [English]   Author Bae SuahTranslators Deborah SmithPublisher  Jonathan CapeYear Published 2020Originally published in Korea by Jaum&Moeum in 2013   Twenty-eight-year-old Kim Ayami works at Seoul’s only audio theater for the blind. On her last shift before the theater is shut down, Ayami wanders the streets at night and meets different kinds of people: a German language female teacher who has cancer, a theater director who has become unemployed with the theater’s closure, a German who has come to Korea to write a novel. With each encounter, the characters delve deep into their memories, dreams, and secrets. In a world where the boundary between reality and dreams is faint, we become the main characters. ㅣNovel No One Writes Back [English] Author Jang Eun-jinTranslators Yewon JungPublisher Dalkey ArchiveYear Published 2013Originally published in Korea by MunhakDongne in 2009 This book is the story of a man who travels around without a specific destination together with his blind dog. During his journey, the protagonist encounters a man who reads poetry to a friend in a coma, a person who rides trains endlessly to escape from a broken heart, amongst many others. In order to console them and tell them about his own experience, the main character writes them letters but never receives a reply. At first glance, this story might make us feel lonely and somber, but through the letters he sends we are able to discover messages of hope. ㅣNovel Your 4’33 [Chinese]  Author Lee Seo SuTranslators 謝麗玲Publisher 一人出版社 Year Published 2021Originally published in Korea by EunHaengNaMu in 2020 This book is inspired by 4’33, the composition created by American experimental composer John Cage during which performers do not play their instruments. Switching between the life of celebrated avant-garde artist John Cage, and that of Lee Gidong, who is frustrated and discouraged by a fiercely competitive society, the reader is asked what our moral guidelines are. During these four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence, we ponder about the meaning of life and discover the value of our existence.  ㅣNovel A Someone Harmless to Me [Chinese] Author Choi EunyoungTranslator  陳曉菁Publisher 商務印書館Year Published 2019Originally published in Korea by MunhakDongne in 2018 As the title suggests, this collection of seven short stories is “harmless to life,” as it encourages readers to understand and embrace the lives of people who have been deeply hurt. “That Summer” depicts the emotions of people who have fallen in love, “A House Made of Sand” narrates the love and friendship between three people in their twenties: through these characters who heal their wounds thanks to those around them, we discover new aspects of our own lives. PI OK-HEE Pi Ok-hee is an insightful writer who offers a unique perspective on the world. With a diverse range of interests, she contributes to newspapers and magazines, delving into topics such as people, spaces, books, and travel. Beyond her journalistic endeavors, Pi Ok-hee excels as a ghostwriter, crafting captivating stories and providing content for corporate newsletters, speeches, and casebooks for both companies and public institutions.

  • Five Must-Read Korean Books for College Entrance Exam Takers
    Multilingual Works
    Five Must-Read Korean Books for College Entrance Exam Takers

    November 22, 2023

    It’s no exaggeration to say that students in Korea study intensively for years just to take the college entrance exam (called CSAT).  Study guidebooks are crucial resources for test-takers who need to stay focused on their goals without feeling torn between reality and hope. While there are countless guidebooks offering life wisdom, what becomes a vital guide for Korean students is their literary sensibility, which is a result of South Korea's emphasis on education that integrates literature into exam preparation–building not only academic skills, but also literary appreciation. The so-called “must-read” list of books for CSAT prep allow students to glimpse into the lives and emotions of people from different historical periods.  For example, Kim Yu-Jeong’s Downpour delves into the contradictions and moral struggles in rural communities through the lives of an itinerant farming couple. Pak Taewon’s A Day in the Life of Kubo the Novelist showcases the role of modern Korean literature by depicting the idling life of lumpen intellectuals. Yi Kwang-su’s Mujŏng marks the beginning of Korean contemporary literature by exploring free love and enlightenment through its four central young characters.  Cho Se-Hŭi’s The Dwarf exposes problems in Korean society while portraying a dwarf family’s dreams and their desire for freedom.  Hyun Jin-geon’s One Lucky Day describes the hardships in the life of an old rickshaw driver. All these stories encourage test-takers to seriously contemplate how they want to live their own lives ㅣNovel Downpour [English]  Author Kim Yu-JeongTranslator Yoonna ChoPublisher Literature Translation Institute of KoreaYear Published 2014Originally published in Korea by The Chosun Ilbo in 1935 Kim Yu-Jeong’s short story was selected for the 1935 The Chosun Ilbo’s New Spring Literary Contest. It portrays the poverty and harsh reality of itinerant farmers at that time through the trials faced by a couple who were forced to leave their home during a year of famine. The authoritarian Chunho, who pesters his wife for money to squander on gambling, his wife’s dramatic decision to sacrifice her dignity and resort to prostitution to avoid his abuse, as well as the absurd relationships between landlords and tenant farmers, are depicted paradoxically and humorously in Downpour. This work invites readers to sink into contemplation. ㅣNovel A Day in the Life of Kubo the Novelist [English]   *Part of ‘The Penguin Book of Korean Short Stories’ series.Author Pak TaewonTranslators Sunyoung Park, Jefferson J. A. Gatrall, Kevin O’RourkePublisher  Penguin BooksYear Published 2023Originally published in Korea by -   This mid-twentieth-century novella was first published in 1934 in the Chosun Jungang Ilbo. At the age of twenty-six, novelist Kubo still lives with his widowed mother, without a job or a wife. This story is regarded as one of the most representative works of Korean modernist literature, masterfully employing a chronological detailing of the main character’s wandering around the city. As he roams the streets of Seoul, he captivates readers’ attention by skillfully moving between past and present, reality and fantasy, and through his encounters with the city’s landscape and its peoples, he delves into the ever-shifting realms of loneliness, desires, money, and love within the human psyche. ㅣNovel Mujŏng [English] Author Yi Kwang-suTranslators  Ann Sung-hi LeePublisher East Asia ProgramYear Published 2005Originally serialized in Korea by the Maeil Sinbo in 1917, and published by Shinmunkwan and DongYang Seowon in 1918. Mujŏng, serialized in 1917 in the Maeil Sinbo, is Korea’s first modern novel, marking the beginning of modern Korean literature. Infused with the contemporary consciousness of that era, this work explores themes of free love and enlightenment. The story revolves around Yi Hyŏng-sik, an intellectual who works as an English teacher at Kyŏngsŏng School after studying in Japan; Pak Yŏng-ch’ae, a traditionally educated young woman who, after losing her virginity to the Kyŏngsŏng School inspector, contemplates suicide; Kim Sŏnhyŏng, a modern woman preparing for her studies in the United States; and Kim Pyŏng-uk, an anti-feudal and progressive international student. This novel vividly portrays the societal upheaval and moral ambiguity of Joseon’s period of transformation through characters that readers can readily empathize with. ㅣNovel The Dwarf  [English]  Author Cho Se-HŭiTranslators Bruce and Ju-Chan FultonPublisher University of Hawaii Press Year Published 2006Originally published in Korea by Literature and Intelligence in 1978 This short story was originally published in the 1976 Winter issue of the literary journal Literature and Intelligence. It continues to be cherished by readers to this day, as it offers a realistic depiction of the rapid industrialization of the 1970s through the struggles and sorrows of a dwarf’s family, shedding light on the disenfranchised and their loss of the foundations of life as their unauthorized village is razed to the ground. The story is divided into three parts, each focusing on one of the protagonist’s children: the first one focuses on the first-born son, Kim Yong-su, the second revolves around the second-born son, Kim Yong-ho, and the third one follows the youngest daughter, Kim Yong-hui.  ㅣNovel A Lucky Day [Russian] Author Hyun Jin-geonTranslator  Ким Сонмён,Илья БеляковPublisher АСТ ЛингваYear Published 2019Originally published in Korea by Gaebyeok, Issue 48, in 1924 First published in the June 1924 issue of the magazine Gaebyeok, this short story showcases the essence of realism by portraying the squalid lives of Joseon’s lower-class people through old rickshaw-porter Kim. After a ten-day streak of bad luck, Mr. Kim heads out to work, ignoring his sick wife’s pleadings to remain home with her. His wife’s pained expression bothers him throughout the day, but he continues to push through, as he cannot shake off opportunities to earn good money. This story, which focuses solely on the protagonist and vividly narrates the way he endures any hardship, deserves to remain in the CSAT curriculum as a witness of Korea’s past. Chayeon Since 1994, she has crafted pieces across diverse genres and various media, as though she was shaping different kinds of pottery. Beginning in 2009, she has been introducing readers of webzines to cultural information, from books to movies and travel destinations, almost as if she was sharing secrets deep into the night.

  • Real Events that Read Like Fiction: From Life to History, True Stories that Surpass Imagination!
    Multilingual Works
    Real Events that Read Like Fiction: From Life to History, True Stories that Surpass Imagination!

    November 13, 2023

    True stories hold a mysterious power. A power that writes narratives more vivid than fiction and gives rise to significant literary works, making it impossible to escape their clutches even for a second. At times, literary works based on true stories unfold in such unimaginable, dramatic ways it begs the question, “Is this truly life?” At the core of these stories, buried beneath conflicts and confrontations, lies the question of what it means to be human. Moreover, the tale of one individual can be intertwined with the lives of many others, ultimately weaving into a powerful message that writes an entire history. Han Kang’s We Do Not Part (Impossibles Adieux) depicts the story of Jeongshim, a woman who lost her family in the tumult of the Jeju April 3rd Uprising and Massacre and spends decades waiting for her beloved brother’s return. Jeonshim’s life and suffering transcends her own lifetime as she has a daughter who cannot simply ignore her mother’s pain, and her friend who supports her.  Now, let’s look at The Accusation. Currently residing in North Korea, the author depicts the lives of ordinary men and women living under the regime from the late 1980s to the early 1990s through seven short stories.  Published in May 1968, The Tunnel of Destiny tells the amazing story of a Hamgyeong province family living under Japanese occupation who has a passion for learning, and recounts how they overcame their hardships.  Beginning from the early 1900s and leading up to the present, Kim Young-ha’s Black Flower follows the migration of Koreans across continents and oceans to Mexico, detailing the immigrants’ struggle for survival and maintaining their dignity with both pointedness and wit. Based on real events that occurred at a school for deaf students, Ji-Young Gong’s 2009 novel, Togani, sheds light on the issue of violence against socially vulnerable individuals and minorities. Novels based on true stories prompt us to reflect on the essence of humanity and life while underscoring the intrinsic value of human existence amid despair and suffering as we continue to love, yearn, and hope. ㅣNovel We Do Not Part (Impossibles Adieux) [French] Author  Han KangTranslator Pierre BisiouPublisher Éditions Grasset Year Published 2023Originally published in Korea by Munhakdongne in 2021 At its heart, this book explores the oppression Jeju suffered from 1947 to 1954 when authorities attempted to stamp out partisan activities, hence leading to the Jeju Uprising and resulting in the loss of countless lives. With this tragic historical backdrop, this book narrates a profound and humanistic story of familial love. One winter day, Gyeongha is made known to the silent struggle of her friend Inseon’s family tracing back to a series of civilian massacres that took place seventy years prior. For several decades, Inseon’s mother, Jeongshim, has relentlessly searched for her surviving older brother. Jeongshim’s heart-wrenching story of missing an absent family member is passed on to Inseon, and subsequently, from Inseon to Gyeongha, and from Gyeongha to the readers. ㅣNovel The Accusation [German]  Author BandiTranslators Lee Ki-hyangPublisher  PiperYear Published 2017Originally published in Korea by Dasan Books in 2017   Bandi, a pseudonym from the word “firefly” in Korean, is a North Korean writer who bases his stories on life under the totalitarian regime during the 1980s and 1990s. This collection, smuggled into South Korea through a network of defectors and brokers, comprises seven short stories. Written with concision in the North Korean dialect, they shed light on the daily oppression faced by ordinary citizens under dictatorship. One story recounts a son’s desperate attempts to obtain a travel card so that he can visit his critically ill mother. After his request gets rejected, he is caught smuggling to his hometown and hence subjected to forced labor. Another story depicts the difficulties of a mother whose three-year-old child convulses whenever he sees a portrait of Karl Marx. ㅣNovel The Tunnel of Destiny [English] Author Kim Hyung-chaTranslators  Allen D. ClarkPublisher Seoul Selection U.S.AYear Published 2018Originally published in Korea by Family Research Center Maum in 2018 Published in May 1968, this evocative novel recounts the author’s and his family’s experiences throughout the Japanese occupation, the liberation, and the Korean War. Through sharp prose, the novel viscerally depicts the author’s study abroad in Japan, his forced conscription as a student soldier, the harsh military training he endured, and his life as a soldier of the Japanese army both before and after liberation. The narrative captures the author’s stint as part of the first generation of Korean soldiers seconded to the US Army during the Korean War, their advance to the Yalu River and the evacuation of Hamhung, as well as the tragic story of young soldiers who were sent in Hiroshima to serve right before the deployment of the atomic bomb. ㅣNovel Black Flower [English]  Author Kim Young-haTranslators La Shure CharlesPublisher Mariner Books Year Published 2013Originally published in Korea by Munhakdongne in 2003 In 1905, when the Korean Empire was on the brink of collapse, many Koreans left for Mexico with dreams of attaining better jobs and brighter futures. Black Flower chronicles the poignant story of this migration. Just like the indomitable spirit of these migrants carried them across continents and oceans, the author’s bold prose transports readers to a new world. Through stark juxtapositions like the conflict between feudalism and modernity, indigenous and imported religions, the disintegration of status and class, and the collapse of the relationship between the state and the individual, readers are prompted to think about the fundamental condition of human destiny. ㅣNovel Togani [English] Author  Ji-Young GongTranslator  Bruce and Ju-Chan FultonPublisher University of Hawaii Press Year Published 2023 Originally published in Korea by Creation and Criticism in 2009 Ji-Young Gong’s Togani is a novel based on the unimaginable and harrowing events that happened at a school for the disabled located near Gwangju. Such was its societal impact that this book was even adapted into a movie of the same name in 2011. After his business fails, the protagonist is appointed as a temporary teacher at a school for the hearing impaired in the city of Mujin. There, he uncovers a series of terrible crimes, from sexual assaults to physical abuse, that are concealed by people in various positions of power, from the Office of Education to City Hall, police officers to members of the church. Through the conflicting positions of these stakeholders, the narrative explores not only the nature of evil but also the psyche of those who turn a blind eye to injustice. Chayeon Since 1994, she has crafted pieces across diverse genres and various media, as though she was shaping different kinds of pottery. Beginning in 2009, she has been introducing readers of webzines to cultural information, from books to movies and travel destinations, almost as if she was sharing secrets deep into the night.

  • K-Lit Success, Spearheaded by Translation: Korean Literature’s Rise as the World’s Unsung Hero
    Multilingual Works
    K-Lit Success, Spearheaded by Translation: Korean Literature’s Rise as the World’s Unsung Hero

    November 13, 2023

    Everyone is familiar with Bong Joon-ho’s film Parasite, which swept the awards globally. During that time, however, someone else was also enjoying the spotlight just as much as the movie and the director himself. It was Bong Joon-ho’s interpreter at the Academy Award ceremony, who was hailed as the perfect interpreter. The interpreter was lauded both domestically and internationally because she not only understood and embraced the source language, but also its cultural implications, hence successfully delivering a complete interpretation to its audience. Translation is no different. By faithfully playing its role as a cultural messenger between countries through understanding and inclusion, K-literature has now earned worldwide adoration. In 2021, Yun Ko-eun’s The Disaster Tourist won the Crime Fiction in Translation Dagger Award with Lizzie Buehler’s translation, marking the first win for an Asian novel. Kim Hyesoon’s poetry collection A Drink in Red Mirror, translated by Yee Choon-woo, was nominated for the Best Translated Book Award by Three Percent, a website specializing in translation and managed by the University of Rochester in the U.S. Whale, Cheon Myeong-kwan’s first full-length novel, was shortlisted for this year’s prestigious International Booker Prize, one of the top three awards in the Anglophone world. Through the troubled lives of its female characters, conveyed through the skillful translation by Chi-Young Kim, this novel showcases the depth and potential of Korean literature to a global readership. Previously, another Korean novel was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize in 2022: Bora Chung’s Cursed Bunny, translated by Anton Hur who captured the familiar yet unfamiliar everyday life of the characters in a sharp and vivid way. Another standout in the realm of suspenseful and dark fantasy novels is Hye-young Pyun’s The Hole, translated by Sora Kim-Russell, which earned the Shirley Jackson Award in 2017. Besides the translators mentioned here, there are many more who are diligently working as cultural messengers, going beyond simply introducing Korean literature, and delving into deeper facets of these works. It is thanks to their efforts that Korean literature today is marching toward a global stage.  ㅣNovel The Disaster Tourist [English] Author  Yun Ko-eunTranslator Lizzie BuehlerPublisher ProfileYear Published 2020Originally published in Korea by Minumsa in 2013 This book narrates the adventures of Ko Yona, a programming coordinator at the travel agency, Jungle, which sells vacation packages to disaster-hit destinations. After a visit to Mui, an island wrecked by a sinkhole in the desert, Yona is heading to the airport to return home when she is forced to return to the Belle Époque, the resort where she was put up with her group. At the request of the resort manager, Yona finds herself involved in a project to revive Mui’s tourism. After being dragged into this ploy to concoct an artificial disaster scenario, will Yona be able to help Mui? ㅣPoetry A Drink of Red Mirror (Un verre de miroir rouge) [French]  Author  Kim HyesoonTranslator Yee Choon-wooPublisher Decrescenzo éditeursYear Published 2016Originally published in Korea by Moonji in 2004   Since her debut in 1979 in the quarterly magazine “Literature and Society,” Kim Hyesoon presents her eighth collection. The fifty-seven poems, including the titular “A Drink of Red Mirror,” harness the powerful poetic allure of the color red to exalt the author’s profound sensibility. With the poet’s distinct prose that tantalizes the senses, these poems usher readers into a mesmerizing and stark poetic realm. ㅣNovel Whale [English]  Author Cheon Myeong-kwanTranslators  Chi-Young KimPublisher Archipelago BooksYear Published 2023 Originally published in Korea by Munhakdongne in 2004 Cheon Myeong-kwan’s first full-length novel has received incredible praises for its groundbreaking plot. This novel defies readers’ expectations at every turn, portraying the turbulent lives of its unforgettable female protagonists: an old woman, Geumbok, and Chunhui. Cheon’s narrative engulfs readers and throws them toward strong currents by skillfully weaving in elements from various genres such as mythology, folktales, ghost and chivalrous stories, allowing each reader to find resonance within its pages. ㅣNovel Cursed Bunny [English] Author Bora ChungTranslators Anton HurPublisher Algonquin Books Year Published 2022Originally published in Korea by Arzak in 2017 Cursed Bunny is a collection of ten short stories that defy genre boundaries. Unified by the central theme of revenge, these stories range from horror to science fiction and fantasy. In “Cursed Bunny,” the owner of a brewing company spreads malicious rumors to outdo his competitors. “Home Sweet Home” tells the story of a woman who finds a ghost-child in the building that she and her irresponsible husband have bought, while “Snare” delves into the tragic consequences of one man’s greed which destroys his whole family. This collection showcases characters in familiar, yet strange settings—often driven by desire, betrayal, or misguided choices—and offers readers a peculiar sense of pleasure and comfort.  ㅣNovel The Hole [English] Author Hye-young PyunTranslator  Sora Kim-RussellPublisher Arcade PublishingYear Published 2017Originally published in Korea by Moonji in 2016 The Hole is Hye-young Pyun’s fourth novel. Ogi, a college professor in his forty, faces a tragic event: he loses his wife in a car accident that leaves him paralyzed, incapable of doing anything except blinking. The narration moves back and forth between Ogi’s present and past to shed light on the time leading up to the tragedy, depicting the conflicts in his relationship with his wife as he insists on his innocence in a gripping story. Chayeon Since 1994, she has crafted pieces across diverse genres and various media, as though she was shaping different kinds of pottery. Beginning in 2009, she has been introducing readers of webzines to cultural information, from books to movies and travel destinations, almost as if she was sharing secrets deep into the night.

  • The After-Story: Tales of Overcoming Loss
    Multilingual Works
    The After-Story: Tales of Overcoming Loss

    November 02, 2023

    Loss affects everyone in different ways. Life can often feel like a continuous cycle of hitting rock bottom, feeling on the brink of death, followed by a desperate attempt at finding a way out. At times we perceive life to be the cause of pain, but occasionally an unexpected loss can lead to newfound gains. What do we become in the aftermath of loss?  In Sohn Won-pyung’s Momentum, a man decides to end his own life. But when he sees an advertising phrase claiming that changing one’s posture can transform one’s life, he is finally encouraged to start anew. From loss, we restart and discover new values.  In Han Kang’s Greek Lessons, we find the unique light of life that surges from an encounter between a woman who cannot speak and a man who’s losing his eyesight. After loss, we heal our wounds and learn to hope.  We also battle against forceful loss of life. Kang Hwagil’s Another Person confronts the manifold instances of violence women face in our society, and challenges the world with piercing eyes and sharp voices.  Meanwhile, Kwon Yeo-sun’s memorable novel, Lemon, features a woman who is investigating the murder of her older sister and seeks revenge against one of the suspects. Lastly, in a gray city ravaged by disasters as portrayed in Kang Young-sook’s At Night He Lifts Weights, we navigate various forms of loss and their repercussions. Kang’s story is conveyed with somber tones, and occasionally punctuated by humor. Life revolves around things that have gone by, things we yearned to keep, and things we fought not to lose. Ultimately, it is us who stand in the center, driving the change in our lives. ㅣNovel Momentum [Spanish]  Author  Sohn Won-pyung Translator Joo HasunPublisher Ediciones Temas de hoy Year Published 2002Originally published in Korea by Changbi in 2022 If your business failed and you were facing mounting debt, what kind of life would you choose? This book delves into the life of a middle-aged man who contemplates suicide following a business setback. One day, however, he comes across an advertising message that promises change. He then embarks on a journey to transform his life. “Is there a possibility for me to turn my life around after failure?” Will his endeavor to improve himself succeed in mending his whole life? ㅣNovel Another Person [English]  Author Kang HwagilTranslators Clare RichardsPublisher  Pushkin HouseYear Published 2023Originally published in Korea by Hankyoreh Publishing in 2017  This novel casts a light on the numerous forms of violence to which women are subjected in Korean society. After being abused by her boyfriend, the main character decides to report him to the police. The man gets off scot-free, with only a slap on the wrist, and she decides to expose the injustice online. This story points a finger at those who claim that they are different, yet stand by as victims suffer, hence proving that bystanders are no different from perpetrators of violence. This story urges everyone to not look the other way. ㅣ Novel Lemon [English] Author Kwon Yeo-sunTranslators  Janet Hong Publisher Other PressYear Published 2021Originally published in Korea by Changbi in 2019  “My older sister was murdered.” In the summer of 2002, when Korea is hosting the FIFA World Cup with Japan, a high school girl blessed with unforgettable beauty is murdered. The incident is later remembered as the High School Beauty Murder. On the day of her death the victim was wearing a yellow dress. Her younger sister’s life is completely upended as she searches for the truth. The novel explores the unlamented death of a high school girl and a yellow angel’s personal journey to uncover the truth about her sister’s demise—how will this quest for yellow vengeance end? ㅣNovel Greek Lessons [Spanish]  Author Han KangTranslators Sunme YoonPublisher Random House Year Published 2023Originally published in Korea by Munhak Dongne in 2011 How painful is it to lead an isolated, lonely life? In this story we are introduced to the silence of a woman who loses the will to speak, and the light of a man who’s slowly losing his eyesight—two individuals shaped by the loss and hurt of their past traumas. But when they meet, they engage in their very own conversation. Subsequently, they are transformed into a woman learning an ancient language that is slowly disappearing, and a lecturer whom the woman meets in these classes. Through their encounter, life’s darkness turns into light. ㅣ Novel At Night He Lifts Weights [English] Author  Kang Young-sookTranslator  Janet HongPublisher Transit BooksYear Published 2023 Originally published in Korea by Changbi in 2011 This book features nine short stories set against the backdrop of a city devastated by disasters. A woman battling from depression and her recurring attempts at committing suicide, and her struggles amid a disease that ravages her city are also central aspects of this collection. In the title story, the author humorously cautions against the judgmental stares of strangers by telling the story of an old man who is identified as the culprit of a string of murders in a putrid and polluted industrial complex. PI OK-HEE Pi Ok-hee is an insightful writer who offers a unique perspective on the world. With a diverse range of interests, she contributes to newspapers and magazines, delving into topics such as people, spaces, books, and travel. Beyond her journalistic endeavors, Pi Ok-hee excels as a ghostwriter, crafting captivating stories and providing content for corporate newsletters, speeches, and casebooks for both companies and public institutions.

  • From the Page to the Stage: Korean Books Adapted for Musicals
    Multilingual Works
    From the Page to the Stage: Korean Books Adapted for Musicals

    November 01, 2023

    Modern people live busy lives. The busier they are, the more they feel empty inside. On days when you want to fill this emptiness, how about taking a break from your hectic routine and soothing your heart with a performance? Now that the social distancing rules of the COVID-19 pandemic have been lifted, there are more high-quality shows to watch. Among them, musicals based on works of Korean literature—be it poetry, novels, or even essays—stand out the most. The messages of the original works are amplified through song and dance, and convey deeper emotions. Even a story from the most familiar, famous writer can feel new and more three-dimensional when it is transposed to a musical. It feels as though the book has come to life, and perhaps that’s why musicals make us want to read the books again. The deep emotions elicited by the following works have all stood out on stage: Han Yung Un’s His Silence, Yun Dong-ju’s Sky, Wind, and Stars, Kim Yujong’s and other sixteen writers’ works gathered in A Ready-Made Life: Early Masters of Modern Korean Fiction, Yi Sang’s Crow’s Eye View and Other Poems, Baek Seok’s Baek Seok: Poems of the North. As we rediscover the literary value of the original works once more, perhaps we’ll encounter new messages and emotions that escaped us on first read. ㅣPoetry His Silence [Spanish] Author  Han Yung UnTranslator Kim Hyun-Chang, Seung-kee KimPublisher VerbumYear Published 2002Originally published in Korea by Hoedongseogwan in 1926 This collection consists of Han Yung Un’s early poems like “His Silence,” “Cannot Know,” “Obedience,” and others. These lyric poems full of sophisticated and elegant language stand out for their colorful metaphors. Of these eighty-eight poems, sixty-four are written for a certain “you,” which can be interpreted as Han’s resistance as he longed for his beloved country’s freedom under the yokes of the Japanese colonization, but it could also point to a lover, Buddha, or a more universal truth.  ∎ Musical: Simwoo Set against the funeral of Kim Dongsam, with whom Han joined the Independence movement in 1937, this musical narrates the fierce life of an independence activist and the hope for freedom. ㅣPoetry Sky, Wind, and Stars [English]  Author Yun Dong-juTranslators Kyung-nyun Kim Richards, Steffen F. RichardsPublisher  Jain Publishing CompanyYear Published 2003Originally published in Korea by Jeongeumsa in 1948 Yun Dong-ju was a poet and an independence activist. He was arrested in 1943 for anti-Japanese activities and died in a prison in Fukuoka at the age of twenty-seven in February 1945, a few months before Korea was finally liberated. Sky, Wind, and Stars is the only collection he left us. It was published posthumously, and delicately reveals the inner thoughts of the poet who was caught up in the whirlwind of those tragic times.   ∎ Musical: Yun Dong-ju, Shoot the Moon Through the life of poet Yun Dong-ju, we encounter the innocent youth who dreamed of freedom and independence, and who resisted the most brutal period of the Japanese empire.  ㅣ  Novel A Ready-Made Life: Early Masters of Modern Korean Fiction [English] Author Chae Man-shik Et al.Translators Kim Chong-un, Bruce and Ju-Chan FultonPublisher University of Hawaii PressYear Published 1998Originally published in Korea by Shindonga in 1934 This book is a collection of sixteen stories written by notable authors of early modern Korean literature, including Kim Yujong, who pioneered a new genre of Korean fiction with his humor. Kim Yujong’s “Wife”, Chae Man-Sik’s “A Ready-Made Life”, Lee Hyoseok’s “When Buckwheat Blooms”, Chu Yo-Sup’s “Mama and the Boarder” are all masterpieces written in the mid-1930s. This collection gives us a taste of the variety of Korean modern novels.   ∎ Musical: Fan Letter Against the backdrop of the Japanese occupation in the 1930s, Kim Yujong, Yi Sang, along with young writers and Gyeongseong authors, who pursued pure literature, create a group called the Circle of the Nine. ㅣPoetry Crow’s Eye View and Other Poems [Spanish]  Author Yi SangTranslators Whangbai Bahk, José Catalán, Pio E. SerranoPublisher VerbumYear Published 2003Originally published in Korea in 1934 This book is a collection of works by the modernist poet Yi Sang, a man ahead of his time. Turning away from conventional literary traditions like following grammar rules, his literary works remain a subject of research. His literary experimentation and alluring style full of brilliant ideas raise questions about human ideals.  ∎ Musical: Smoke This musical is based on Yi Sang’s serialized poem, “Crow’s Eye View n.15.” His most representative works have been turned into a musical that narrates his life, art, and anguish as he lives in his oppressed country.  ㅣ Anthology Baek Seok: Poems of the North [English] Author  Baek SeokTranslator Peter LiptakPublisher Exile PressYear Published 2018 Originally published in Korea by Saemoon in 1990 Poet of all poets Baek Seok is a writer who employs language rich in locality. Baek Seok: Poems of the North is a compilation of his lesser-known works, those that were written while he was active in North Korea after the division of the Korean peninsula. This collection contains poems, essays, fables, stories, and regular prose, including unpublished works written during the Japanese colonial era, and works published in North Korea after his return to the North.   ∎ Musical: Natasha, the White Donkey, and Me Based on Baek Seok’s poem, “Natasha, the White Donkey, and Me,” audiences can enjoy more than twenty of the author’s poems alongside beautiful piano accompaniment. Lee Misuk Lee Misuk is a culture columnist and freelance writer. She is active in a variety of fields, including culture, trends, celebrity interviews, travels, columns, and investment techniques. She has written for more than fifty Korean companies and organizations.

  • Colonized Voices: Five Korean Books from the Japanese Occupation Era
    Multilingual Works
    Colonized Voices: Five Korean Books from the Japanese Occupation Era

    October 19, 2023

    At the beginning of the twentieth century, Korea endured a tumultuous era. The period that began with the forced annexation of Korea to the Japanese Empire on August 22, 1910 and ended with the Liberation on August 25, 1945, is officially called the “Imperial Japanese Occupation,” during which Korea became a colony of Japan. Lasting thirty-five years, the occupation shook Korean politics, culture, and arts to their core. Literature, long considered a mirror of society, was no exception. The literary works produced during this period reflect the bleak and chaotic nature of the times. Through these colonial voices, we gain insight into a difficult chapter of Korea’s history. In his autobiographical novella, Transgressor of the Nation, Ch’ae Man-Sik confesses his pro-Japanese activities. Kang Kyung-ae depicts the impoverished social situation in Broken Strings. Kim Sa-ryang focuses on the troubled lives of his characters in The Man I Met in the Lock Up, while Cho Myung-hee captures a portrait of occupied Korea in his Low Pressure Front. On the contrary, there are other examples of literature describing the Japanese Empire in other colonies, such as Lee Hyoseok’s Harbin. Through literature we get a glimpse into the thoughts, concerns, and anguished feelings of the intellectuals of the time, and gain a different perspective of our present. ㅣNovella Transgressor of the Nation [English] Author  Ch’ae Man-sikTranslator Jane KimPublisher Literature Translation Institute of KoreaYear Published 2014Originally published in Korea by Baik Min in 1948 Transgressor of the Nation is a novella that was published only after Liberation. In this autobiographical work, Ch’ae Man-Sik himself denounces the pro-Japanese activities he had committed during the Japanese colonization. The work describes the confrontation between reporters condemning pro-Japanese activities and writers who were overtly cooperating with Japan. Through the conflict of the two main characters, the author ponders on what exactly can be considered pro-Japanese activities. Even now, there are debates on whether Ch’ae Man-Sik’s actions were pro-Japanese or not, and if the self-reflection contained in his novels are nothing more than excuses. Through his work, however, we feel the anguish felt by intellectuals at that time and see how contradictory the human mind can be. ㅣ Short Story Broken Strings [English]  Author Kang Kyung-aeTranslators Sora Kim-RussellPublisher  Literature Translation Institute of KoreaYear Published 2013Originally published in Korea by Chosun Ilbo in 1931 Broken Strings is a short story by realist writer Kang Kyung-ae. Her work is a calm and realistic depiction of the impoverished society during the Japanese occupation. The two main characters are college students, and the story vividly captures not only their anguish and suffering but also their awakening and willingness to fight. Kang’s delicate observations shine through her interest in societal problems involving lower classes and workers. The shocking ending draws awareness to the problems dealt with in the story. ㅣ Short Story The Man I Met in the Lock Up [English] Author Kim Sa-ryang Translators Jamie ChangPublisher Literature Translation Institute of KoreaYear Published 2014Originally published in Korea by Munjang in 1941 The Man I Met in the Lock Up is a short story by Kim Sa-ryang published toward the latter part of the colonization period in 1941. The story begins with a reporter recalling his encounter with Count Wang, a self-professed anarchist who wreaked havoc on a train and is a frequent visitor of the police station. Through the observant reporter and problematic count, Kim Sa-ryang draws attention to the contradictions of intellectuals living in the Japanese colonization period. ㅣ Novel Harbin [English]  Author Lee HyoseokTranslators Ally HwangPublisher Literature Translation Institute of KoreaYear Published 2013Originally published in Korea in 1940 Lee Hyoseok first achieved fame with the short story When the Buckwheat Flowers Bloom. He then wrote Harbin, based on his travels to China. One particular short story is about an encounter that takes place in Harbin between a skeptic and a woman who thinks about death. In this story, Lee expresses his personal anguish and his observations of societal changes. For intellectuals of the Japanese colonial era, the city of Harbin represented an exotic destination to which many wished to travel at least once, a region where Russian culture meets the atmosphere of Europe, a city of culture and art. But the Harbin depicted in the novel is a place of chaos, from which it is possible to get a glimpse of the global state of affairs after WWII. ㅣ Short Story Low Pressure Front [English] Author  Cho MyungheeTranslator Sora Kim-RussellPublisher Literature Translation Institute of KoreaYear Published 2014Originally published in Korea by Joseon Jigwang in 1926 Cho Myunghee’s Low Pressure Front deals with ethnic and class contradictions in the Japanese colonial era. The main character struggles with difficulties in his daily life and at work, and boredom, despite his privileged position as an intellectual who is also a newspaper reporter. The realism in Cho’s work depicts the lethargy, disgust, and poverty that characterizes the lives of intellectuals at that time. Jiyeon Kim Jiyeon Kim is a content creator who reads, writes, and breathes contents. She dreams of devouring as much content as possible. After a career in online news media, she is now working as a writer for an online movie magazine.

  • From Page to Stage: Korean Books Adapted for Musicals Part 2
    From Page to Stage: Korean Books Adapted for Musicals Part 2

    October 12, 2023

    Many movies, plays, TV shows, and musicals. Most people first encounter the visual or performance media before the original text. Musicals with their flamboyant music and dance performances, the actors’ interpretations, and beautiful set designs may seem like the most complete medium. But the original texts hold their very own unique charm. Sometimes, we can’t fully experience the story until we’ve read the book.  For example, the song The Moon Reflected in a Thousand Rivers  written in Hangul by King Sejong reveals the truths of Buddhist teachings and the biography of Gautama Buddha. In Vision of a Phoenix, we dive into poems written by a woman who tried to forget her harsh reality, while in Seopyeonje, which narrates the tragedy that befell a traveling musician after the Korean War, we delve into the meaning of 'han' and what it means to the Korean people. The novel The Picture Bride makes us think about the meaning of family and love by showing us the lives of first-generation immigrants to Hawai’i. And in Almond, the story of a boy who can’t feel emotions, we learn a different way to understand others.   Written stories contain infinite emotions, and as we read the original texts, we push the boundaries of our emotions and imagination. So, let’s read the original texts before watching musicals that captivate our eyes and ears with their songs, dances, and colorful stage designs. Perhaps we’ll discover more details and nuances than the rest of the audience. ㅣ Novel  The Moon Reflected in a Thousand Rivers [German] Author  King SejongTranslator JUNG-HEE ANPublisher SOHAKSA VERLAG Year Published 2002Originally published in Korea in 1447 When Queen Soheon, wife of King Sejong, passed away, her second son Grand Prince Suyang wrote the Seokbosangjeol, a biography of Gautama Buddha, to wish her an easy passage into the next life. King Sejong was so greatly moved by his son’s work that he used it as a basis to compose his The Moon Reflected in a Thousand Rivers. These songs are written in Hangul and record the life of Gautama Buddha, from his time as a prince,  his wedding, and subsequent departure from his family to take the robes. As the title suggests, while there is only one moon, its light scatters in a thousand glints over a river. Just like how one word from Buddha is able to save hundreds of people. This story goes beyond religion to ask, What is the one truth that pervades all life? ㅣ Poetry Vision of a Phoenix [English] Author Hŏ Nansŏrhŏn̆Translators Yang Hi Choe-WallPublisher  Cornell Univ. East Asia ProgramYear Published2003Originally published in Korea in 1608 During the Joseon Dynasty, a male-centered society, Hŏ Nansŏrhŏn̆ was born. She was talented and wrote beautiful poems, but like any other woman of her time, she had to marry into the family chosen by her parents. This arrangement brought her great unhappiness. Hŏ Nansŏrhŏn̆ wrote poems to temporarily forget her unfortunate circumstances, poems that told stories strikingly different from her life. At times she depicts the life of a merchant and sometimes sings about the spirit of a soldier off to war. This collection of fifty-three poems and one prose left by Hŏ Nansŏrhŏn̆ allows us a glimpse into her desire to escape from her restricted life. ㅣ Novel Seopyeongje [English] Author Yi Chung-jun Translators  Kim Ok YoungPublisher Peter OwenYear Published 2011Originally published in Korea by Yolimwon in 1993 This is the story of a family of singers in the 1950s after the Korean War. Traveling musician Yubong is called to the local aristocrat’s house where he meets the family Geumsan. The two become a family with a daughter Songhwa and Dong-ho, Geumsan’s son. Yubong teaches Songhwa and Dong-ho how to sing and play the drums. The two soon begin to perform as pansori singers and accompanying gosu. One day, Geumsan dies during childbirth. Meanwhile, sick of poverty and unable to endure the hatred he feels for his stepfather, Yubong,  Dong-ho runs away. In order to force his daughter to continue singing pansori and to improve her skills, Yubong blinds Songhwa with the help of some drugs. Overcome with guilt, Yubong dies and Songhwa continues her life as an itinerant pansori performer. Seopyeonje is a story that shows us the emotional weight of pansori and the sorrows endured by these disappearing singers. ㅣ Novel The Picture Bride [English]  Author Lee Geum-yiTranslators Anthony Brother, An Seon JaePublisher Scribe UKYear Published 2022Originally published in Korea by Changbi in 2020 During the Japanese colonial period, Beodeul, a seventeen-year-old girl from Gimhae, Gyeongsangnam-do, is sent to Hawai’i to get married. At that time, it was customary to only exchange pictures with overseas Koreans living in Hawai’i before getting married, so Beodeul only saw her future husband in photographs before immigrating to Hawai’i to seek a better life. On the ship heading to her new home, she befriends Hongju and Songhwa. But the harsh reality of an immigrant is beyond what these women imagined. Though they face discrimination and prejudice in an unfamiliar land, they stick together and become each other’s families. After reading this book, the word “Aloha” takes on several different meanings. This book makes us reflect on what it means to be a family, women, and mothers. ㅣ Novel Almond [English] Author  Won-Pyun SohnTranslator Joosun LeePublisher HarperCollinsYear Published 2020Originally published in Korea by Changbi in 2017 Yunjae is sixteen years old and cannot feel or express emotions. He suffers from alexithymia, a condition he himself calls “almond.” Having been showered with love from his mom and grandma, Yunjae suddenly finds himself alone after losing his family in a tragic accident. Later on, Yunjae meets two “monsters” like him, Goni, who has been branded as a delinquent and a lost case, and Dora, an eccentric girl. The three friends regard each other without prejudice, and their friendship deepens unlike any other. Yunjae grows, makes friends, experiences emotions, and, ultimately, is able to understand them. Through the story of a boy’s growth, we learn how to understand others. EUM JIHEE EUM JIHEE is a travel writer and editor who roams the world. In addition to travel magazines, newsletter and daily newspapers, EUM plans and creates text-based contents for a variety of channels, including social media.

  • The Meeting of Mythic Imagination and Fiction: Five Korean Books with Folkloric and Mythical Elements
    The Meeting of Mythic Imagination and Fiction: Five Korean Books with Folkloric and Mythical Elements

    September 26, 2023

    Stories and myths handed down from ancient times are steeped in imagination. Their worlds don’t exist in our present, yet we can dream of them. What kind of worlds would you like to encounter? Here, Korean books that contain myths and folktales reveal imaginary worlds that we have never seen before.  Daebyeol-wang and Sobyeol-wang are the two sons of the King of Heaven and Earth, according to a creation myth from Jeju Island. Their names might be unfamiliar, but if you’re curious, you can read all about these ancient Korean gods in Rediscovering Korean Myths and Myths and Legends from Korea. What if the protagonist of an ancient myth lived in the twenty-first century? In Hwang Sok-yong’s Princess Bari, the beauty of the myth shines through in this modern retelling of a girl who saves the world fraught with hardship and adversities.  What would happen if we were to project reality into the world of myths and legends? The five stories in Kim Si-seup’s Tales of the Strange by a Korean Confucian Monk use elements of myths and folktales to enliven the stories while criticizing the absurdities of the Joseon court of those times.  Lastly, in the steampunk novel, Doro the Steam Robot, set during the Joseon period, imagination exceeds even myths and legends. This ingenious feat of imagination brings history into play to create a new Joseon Dynasty in which the steam engine is developed and a steam robot is built.  Korean novels that use mythological elements straddle the line between past and present and imagination and reality. Let’s explore these wonderful books! ㅣ Novel Tales of the Strange by a Korean Confucian Monk [English]  Author  Kim Si-seupTranslator Würthner DennisPublisher The University Press of Hawaii Year Published 2020Originally published in Korea by  Hyundaesa in 1953 Kim Si-seup’s work is the first Korean novel written in Classical Chinese. It contains five stories, “Account of a Chŏp’o Game at Manbok Temple,” “Biography of Scholar Yi Who Peered over the Wall,” “Travel Record of a Drunken Excursion to Pubyŏk Pavillion,” “Gazetteer of the Southern Continent Yŏmbu,” and “Report of Attending a Banquet in the Dragon Palace,” which feature fantastical characters and settings, like ghosts, the king of the otherworld, dragon kings, and palaces of sea kings. Through these awesome stories, the author sheds light on the hypocrisy of the Joseon court while conveying his affection for the people. ㅣ Novel Princess Bari [English] Author Hwang Sok-yongTranslators Sora Kim-RussellPublisher  PeriscopeYear Published 2015Originally published in Korea  by Changbi in 2007 This book is inspired by the story of Princess Bari who decides to search for a life-saving potion to save her parents’ lives even though they had abandoned her for being born a girl. Hwang’s contemporary retelling follows the difficulties and trials of Bari, the seventh daughter born of a North Korean couple who work as government officials. Yearning for a son, her parents abandon her, and upon her rescue, Bari defects first to China before making her way to London. Will Bari’s soul save a world devastated by war and violence? ㅣ Novel Rediscovering Korean Myths [Russian] Author Кёндок Ли Translators  Лидия АзаринаPublisher Манн, Иванов и ФерберYear Published 2022Originally published in Korea by Wonderbox in 2020 The curator of this collection is a cultural anthropologist who explains Korean mythological symbols through immersive commentary accompanying the myths in this book. Samseung Halmang blesses couples with children and takes care of them while Jeoseung Halmang guides their souls to the afterworld. Seongjushin is the protector of the family, Jowangshin is the goddess of the hearth, and Jacheongbi is the goddess of love and agriculture. This book takes us on a discovery of the unfamiliar yet fascinating world of Korean mythology. ㅣ Novel Myths and Legends from Korea [English]  Author -Translators James Huntley GraysonPublisher CurzonYear Published 2011 This book contains an incredible number of 175 myths and tales from Korea, accompanied by sixteen more stories to facilitate comparison between the existing versions. The book is structured according to three themes: mythological tales related to ancient nations and clans, ancient folktales and legends, and modern stories. Before we know it, we will be captivated by these stories as we search for the origins of each myth. ㅣ Novel Doro the Steam Robot [Japanese] Author  Kim Yihwan et al.Translator Kira KanaePublisher Hayakawa Publishing CorporationYear Published 2023Originally published in Korea by Arzak in 2021 The starting point of this collection of steampunk stories is the question, “What if the steam engine had been created in the Joseon period?” The five stories, Jung Myeong Seop’s “Steam Outcast,” Park Aejin’s “The Gentleman’s Road,” Kim Yihwan’s “The Tale of Madame Park,” Park Haru’s “Yeommae Godok,” Yi Seoyoung’s “The Royal Secretary’s Power,” are connected to the adventures of Doro, a robot powered by steam, a technology imagined to be introduced during the Joseon period. When the sheer force of imagination meets history, readers might find themselves turned into ‘Doro’. PI OK-HEE Pi Ok-hee is an insightful writer who offers a unique perspective on the world. With a diverse range of interests, she contributes to newspapers and magazines, delving into topics such as people, spaces, books, and travel. Beyond her journalistic endeavors, Pi Ok-hee excels as a ghostwriter, crafting captivating stories and providing content for corporate newsletters, speeches, and casebooks for both companies and public institutions.

  • The Beginning of K-Mystery Novels
    Multilingual Works
    The Beginning of K-Mystery Novels

    September 21, 2023

    In the past, Korea has been criticized for its lack of well-written mystery novels given the high interest shown by its audience. However, the emergence of recent works which boast unique characteristics and atmospheres have rendered this comment obsolete. Korean mystery novels are now at the center of popular interest, to the extent that they have secured a place as one of the core elements of K-culture. Lies exposes yet another tragedy that was swept under the rug amid the Sewol ferry disaster. Seven Years of Darkness unravels its mysterious plot through a frame narrative structure. The Only Child shows the genesis of evil and its chronicles, while Lemon explores the excruciating time spent by those left behind after the death of someone dear. Lastly, The Disaster Tourist is a fun read in which a travel agency sells disasters as a consumeristic product. These books are full of pleasure that only thrillers can provide. I highly recommend these to readers looking for some thrill and suspense. ㅣNovel Lies [French] Author Kim Tak-hwanTranslator François Blocquaux, Lee Ki JungPublisher L’AsiathèqueYear Published 2020Originally published in Korea by Booksfear in 2016 There the sunken ferry sat. The story begins when diver Na Kyungsoo receives a call from a fellow diver and heads to Maenggol Channel. Kim Tak-hwan, famous for his works Apnok River, Dokdo Peace Exhibition and I, Hwang Jini, sheds light on the pain left behind by the Sewol ferry disaster. After scouring the deep sea to recover the bodies of children, these divers are only met with an irresponsible nation and accusations of financial greed. Written like a reportage, this daunting but unforgettable novel tells the story of diver Kim Kwanhong. ㅣNovel Seven Years of Darkness [English] Author You-jeong JeongTranslators Chi-Young KimPublisher Penguin BooksYear Published 2020Originally published in Korea by EunHaeng NaMu Publishing in 2011 The man I had executed was my father.” Thus begins You-jeong Jeong’s gripping novel, Seven Years of Darkness. The book was also made into a movie thanks to its extraordinary subject and narrative. The story follows murderer Choi Hyonsu, who has killed an entire village by opening the floodgate of Seryong Village Dam, and Oh Yongje, the father Oh Seryong, one of Choi’s victims. With the spotlight on Choi Sowon, Choi Hyonsu’s son, and his suffering as the son of a murderer, readers discover the hidden stories behind each character. The novel draws inspiration from real events that took place in 2009. ㅣNovel The Only Child [English] Author SEO Mi-ae Translators Yewon JungPublisher Oneworld PublicationsYear Published 2020Originally published in Korea by Elixir in 2018  Two strangers make their suddenly appearance in the life of criminal psychologist Seonkyeong. Yi Byeongdo is a serial killer who has maintained his silence and refused all interviews, while Hayeong is Seonkyeong’s step-daughter from her husband's previous marriage. The novel switches between the perspective of ten-year-old Hayeong and serial killer Yi Byeongdo as it chronicles the birth of evil. Hayeong’s simple good night to her mom contains an eerie menace that ishardly concealed beneath the words. With this work, writer Mi-ae So marks the beginning of Hayeong’s trilogy. ㅣNovel Lemon [English] Author Kwon Yeo-sunTranslators Janet HongPublisher Other PressYear Published 2021 Originally published in Korea by Changbi in 2019  Author Kwon Yeo-sun presents us with a thriller that, like its unusual title, will take us by surprise. The main character is Da-on, younger sister of Hae-on, who died young at nineteen years old. Even after seventeen years, Da-on is still unable to let go of the past and wants to meet one of the suspects in her sister’s murder case, Han Manu, for herself. This mysterious yet composed narrative casts a sharp gaze on the characters whose lives have been intertwined with one another for seventeen long years. This captivating story has also been adapted into a play with the same title.  ㅣNovel The Disaster Tourist [English] Author Yun Ko-eunTranslator Lizzie BuehlerPublisher ProfileYear Published 2020Originally published in Korea by Minumsa in 2013 Yun Ko-eun’s The Disaster Tourist takes off from a fun and ingenious premise. While the plot may at first seem unreal, it reflects the bitter taste of our present reality. The main character Ko Yona is a travel planner for an agency that sells tour packages in areas affected by natural disasters. On the verge of being fired, she visits Mui, a travel destination that is about to be pulled out from the list of tour destinations. There, Yona discovers how some people are trying to manufacture an artificial disaster in order to maintain Mui as a tourist destination, but plans start spiraling out of control.  Hong Kwang-soo After studying the sublime aesthetics of Kant and Lyotard, he  has worked as a film columnist across periodicals and magazines. He currently writes about movies, painting, dance, and theater, and also works as a freelance writer and lecturer.