4th Collection of Asia Publishers Short Fiction has shipped!

4th Korean literature bilingual collection from Asia PublshersIf you live in Seoul, the easy way to do this is to just deal with Seoul Selection. (Apparently this advice needs to be give to Australians as well, as Amazon will not ship there?)  If live outside Seoul you might want to try G-market or, if you only speak English Amazon, which is kind of dicey as some of the books are difficult to find by direct link. I. being the saint I am, provide those links below. Also, it is worth noting that in the case of the first three collections, it has been cheaper to purchase at Seoul Selection as well.

Asia Publisher just keeps popping these collections out without much warning or advertising, so I selfishly hope there weill be more coming down the lin

The collection looks awesome, by which I mean I’ve only read one of these stories, Glass Shield. This is particularly interesting, because it is in the “Humor” section of the collection, which is the one that interests me most. At my recent lecture at Yonsei, I noted that translated humor is quite scarce, and while Glass Shield does have some humor to it, to my mind it is essentially a very sad story. I’d certainly have gone with Kim Young-ha’s Whatever Happened to the Guy in the Elevator, or even Ch’ae Man-Sik’s My Innocent Uncle, even the quite political but often amusing Kapitan Lee (Sometimes Kapitan Ri, or The Constant Doctor, depending on translation. But the inclusion of Lee Ki-ho, who was macabrely funny in his LTI/Dalkey Book, At Least We Can Apologize, interests me very much, and suggests some good choices might have been made.

Bi-lingual Edition Modern Korean Literature SET 4 (Link goes to where you can purchase it on Amazon!^^)

46 Underwear – Kim Nam-il
47 People I Left in Shanghai – Gong Sun-ok
48 Happy New Year to Everyone – Kim Yeon-su
49 The Elephant – Kim Jae-young
50 Dust Star – Lee Kyung

51 Hye-ja’s Snow-Flowers – Chun Seung-sei
52 Ahbe’s Family – Jeon Sang-guk
53 Outside the Door – Lee Dong-ha
54 And Then the Festival – Lee Hye-kyung
55 Spring Night – Kwon Yeo-sun

56 Today’s Fortune – Han Chang-hoon
57 Bird – Jeon Sung-tae
58 So Far, and Yet So Near – Lee Ki-ho
59 The Glass Shield – Kim Jung-hyuk
60 The Pawnshop Chase – Kim Chong-kwang 

Kind of interesting the choices of quotes Asia Publshers used in their blurb (I leave it to the reader to try to figure out the mix of determination/desperation that they hint at:

I look forward to reading the “Diaspora Literature” series, Korean literature’s newly opened window to the world.
  (Novelist Kim Jae-young)

I sincerely pray that this story will provide an opportunity to attract more readers around the world to the fascinating, passionate world of Korean literature. 
  (Novelist Kim Chong-kwang)

Once I got lost and found myself in the furniture complex at Siksadong. The road was muddy and had deep tire tracks everywhere. Because the doors of the furniture factories were all open wide, I could see the foreign workers working inside. They took sideway glances at me from time to time. A foreign woman, I must have looked strange to them. I am very happy to know that “Dust Star” brings readers from other countries into another language. I feel as if I’ve become that strange woman peeping into those factories again. I pray for its safe arrival to a strange new planet.
  (Novelist Lee Kyung)

Looking at the cover of this book, I feel and am moved again by the passing of time. The father who was the model of the father in this story has already left this world, and the age of the son and narrator has caught up with that late father’s. Perhaps, because this story is autobiographical, I look forward to reading this story again over the fault lines of time.
  (Novelist Lee Dong-ha)

Large and small acts of violence are pervasive throughout our world. These acts of violence include not only such obvious examples as a war, but also many subtle ones that hide beneath the headings of custom or culture. Oppression that prevents us from living according to our nature–oppression that we have grown so accustomed to that we forget that they are, in fact, oppressive–literature guides our attention to this and asks us what would be our way out of it all. I believe in the power of stories that help us reflect on our modes of living and proceed towards love. I trust that Asia’s “Bi-lingual Edition Series” will be a bridge among people of different cultures and languages by inspiring sympathy and solidarity between all of us.
  (Novelist Lee Hye-kyung)

The re-illumination of already proven values, the “Bi-lingual Edition: Modern Korean Literature” series provides examples of practical efforts in the globalization of Korean literature. I look forward to its Set 4.
(Novelist Jeon Sang-guk)


There are actually four collections here, “Bi-lingual Edition Modern Korean Literature Volume One”, Volume Two, Volume Three, and volume Four has just been published. The collections are of 15 small volumes each, and each collection is broken into topics with the first collections comprising Division, Industrialization, and Women; the second comprising Liberty, Love, and North/South, and; the third collection comprising Seoul, Tradition, and Avant Garde; and, the fourth Diaspora, Family, and Humor.

In addition, each story comes with a kind of critical summary, several bits of critical analysis, and a biography of the author. When these pieces are put together, it makes the stories much easier to read, as the necessary cultural and historical background is neatly presented to the reader.

One thought on “4th Collection of Asia Publishers Short Fiction has shipped!

  1. The companion volume from Asia Publishers has an article on Soviet-Korean literature.

    That sounds interesting.

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