Been doing a little literature screening for the awesome Daesan Foundation. In this case a book (not yet published in English) by Kim Gyeong Uk called Risky Business (위험한 독서 – in what seems like a very loose translation according to my super-inferior Korean). I’m not sure what I’m allowed to say about the book, other than everything I read in it was pretty awesome and I’m looking forward to its publication.
Because there is not that much information available on him, I emailed Daesan and asked for a brief biography. This is what they sent:
Novelist, Professor of Creative Writing at Korea National University of Arts. He was born in Gwangju, South Jeolla Province in 1971. He completed his undergraduate degree in English Language and Literature and a Master’s degree in Korean Language and Literature from Seoul National University. His career as a novelist began when he won the 1993 Best New Writer Award from the quarterly Writer’s World for his novella Outsider. Known as a natural-born storyteller, he has integrated various aspects of popular culture into his works such as cinema, music, painting and the internet. He has broken the boundary between text and video media, opening up new possibilities in literature. He is the author of story collections Who Killed Kurt Cobain?,Leslie Chung Is Dead? and Dangerous Reading, and novels The Golden Apple, Kingdom of a Thousand Years and Like a Fairy Tale. He is also the recipient of the Hanguk Ilbo Literary Award, the Contemporary Literature Award and the Dong-in Literary Award.
This lead me over to LIST Magazine, which had a bit of criticism:
In contrast to the novels of the 1990s where the interiority of the characters was emphasized, in Kim Kyung-uk’s literary milieu, the character’s inner world is minimized and pop culture, as represented in film, takes its place. In Korean society the novel critiques the meaning and direction of phenomena such as the rapid invasion of popular culture in daily life, and the information industry, as epitomized by the Internet, that plays an important role as a means of communication. Moreover, the novel stays free from borrowing the lexicon and grammar of popular culture and the more so-called lowly genres, and instead earnestly delves into the relationship between literature and popular culture, while exploring the illusions of modern individuals in this new media. When new writers are said to borrow language from popular culture, it does not necessarily signify that literature is being dissolved into the realm of popular culture. In this case, questioning the relationship between the visual and textual cultures, as well as the Internet and books, is crucial. In the end, a book is a source and medium of literature, and ultimately has the critical power to reveal the truth of life that is hidden behind the glamour of the visual culture. This is the reason why Kim Kyung-uk deemed reading a risky endeavor.
LOL… it’s a good start, but I’m going to need to get a little more before I can pop him up on the Wikipedia!