300 Second Sunday: A 15 novel collection from Asia Publishers

300SecondsThis time a 300 Second introduction to the excellent Asia Publishers series of 15 Bilingual Korean novels.

The works include:

“The Wounded” by Yi Cheong-jun, “Soul of Darkness” by Kim Won-il, “Sun-i Samch’on” by Hyun Ki-yong, “Mother’s Stake 1” by Pak Wansŏ, and “The Land of the Banished” by Jo Jung-rae.“Record of a Journey to Mujin” by Kim Seung-ok, “The Road to Sampo” by Hwang Sok-yong, “The Man Who was Left as Nine Pairs of Shoes” by Yun Heung-gil, “Our Friend’s Homecoming” by Shin Sang-ung, and “The Poet of Wonmi-dong” by Yang Kwi-ja,“Chinatown” by Oh Jung-hee, “The Place Where the Harmonium Was” by Shin Kyung-sook, “The Last of Hanak’o” by Ch’oe Yun, “Human Decency” by Gong Jiyong, and “Poor Man’s Wife” by Eun Hee-kyung.

Check it out, then go and buy them!


2 thoughts on “300 Second Sunday: A 15 novel collection from Asia Publishers

  1. Pretty high-brow… if you look at how they are categorized by Asia Publishers you see a difference between Korean and English. The publishers cut these into:

    1) Division
    2) Economic Growth
    3) Women’s Fiction

    Only the last of which is representative of any kind of category in English. There is a conceptual difference here – while you and I think of genre fiction, which can also be literary fiction, or even genres of literary fiction, in Korea there is only Literary Fiction and non-Literary Fiction. So an author like Kim Young-ha or Shin Kyung-sook who clearly write genre fiction by our standards, are not seen this way by Korean publishers and agents.

    This is partly a function of the rather formal process by which authors come into literary existence – win an award for young fiction or new fiction, publish a serial in a literary magazine, win one of the major awards.. Zowie-powie you’re a “serious” author no matter what you do.

    OTOH if you don’t pass that gauntlet or, Gawd-forbid, are a screenwriter, you are non-literary and thus below consideration for translation.

    The IDEA of genres in English is one that is coming slowly to the minds of Koreans involved in literature. That idea is in the heads of some authors, the CEO of LTI Korea, and a small group of publishers and agents, but there is a lot of work to be done.

    I think (I’m partially guessing here) that most of what you and I would consider SOLELY genre fiction is on the wrong side of that division between literary and non-literary. I would be entirely boggle, for instance, to find there was a Korean version of Jim Thompson (“The Killer in Me”) who is pretty clearly a genre writer, but popular beyond genre boundaries and, of course, translated into other languages.

    Anyway, I have a bunch of interviews with Korean writers (which I will have to use unsourced, to protect them) in which they bemoan this set up…

    Those interviews, and likely this response^^, will be turned into a post shortly…

    Thanks, as usual, for commenting…

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