An awesome update on Dalkey Archive Press. After a bit of quiet Dalkey is still on track to release 25 works of modern Korean literature, with the first batch of 10 due on September 30th, 2013 (the 26th, according to Amazon) and the next 15 due exactly one year later.
This is an awesome looking selection, with each of the books I’ve seen mentioned so far a brand new work (that is, previously untranslated), and some of the authors (and translators) are well known to me, and awesome as well.This is, in one swoop, going to widely expand the range of translated Korean literature that is easily accessible for English language readers.
A dedicated searcher can find the first 10 books on Amazon already available for presale, but to make it a bit easier, we provide the list here with links to the appropriate Amazon pages (we include short Amazon description here, the longer ones can be found at the links). The other good news is that although some of these works are quite extensive (over 300 pages) by ordering now you can lock them all in at between $10 and $11, which is quite a bargain.
STINGRAY — Kim Joo-young (tr. Inrae You Vinciguerra & Louis Vinciguerra) 88 pages
Hailed by critics, Stingray has been described by its author as “a critical biography of my loving mother.”
ONE SPOON ON THIS EARTH — Hyun Ki-young (tr. Jennifer M. Lee) 366 pages
An autobiographical novel that takes a life to pieces, One Spoon on this Earth stands a sort of digest of contemporary Korean history as it might be seen through the lens of one man’s life and opinions.
WHEN ADAM OPENS HIS EYES — Jang Jung-il (tr. Hawn Sun-ae & Horace Jeffery Hodges) 160 pages
First published in 1990, this is a sensational and highly controversial novel by one of Korea’s most electrifying contemporary authors, which plows through contemporaneous Korean mores with aplomb.
MY SON’S GIRLFRIEND — Jung Mi-kyung (tr. Yu Young-nan) 92 pages – 7 story collection
At once an ironic portrayal of contemporary Korea and an intimate exploration of heartache, alienation, and nostalgia, this collection of seven short stories has earned the author widespread critical acclaim.
A MOST AMBIGUOUS SUNDAY, AND OTHER STORIES — Jung Young-moon (tr. Jung Young-moon, Jung Yewon, Inrae You Vinciguerra, & Louis Vinciguerra) 195 pages – collection
Considered an eccentric in the traditional Korean literary world and often compared to Kafka, Jung Young-moon’s short stories have nonetheless won numerous readers both in Korea and abroad.
THE HOUSE WITH A SUNKEN COURTYARD — Kim Won-il (tr. Suh Ji-moon) 319 pages
Kim is the author of Evening Glow, The Wind and the River, Soul of Darkness
An occasionally terrifying and always vivid portrayal of what it was like to live as a refugee immediately after the end of the Korean War.
AT LEAST WE CAN APOLOGIZE — Lee Ki-ho (tr. Christopher Joseph Dykas) 111 pages
A kaleidoscope of minor nuisances and major grievances, this novel heralds a new comic voice in Korean letters.
THE SOIL — Yi Kwang-su (tr. Hwang Sun-ae & Horace Jeffery Hodges) 420 pages
Yi Kwang-su is well known for his novel Heartless (the first ‘modern’ novel of Korea)
The Soil tells the story of an idealist dedicating his life to helping the inhabitants of the rural community in which he was raised.
LONESOME YOU — Park Wan-suh (tr. Elizabeth Haejin Yoon) 200 pages – collection
Park is multiply translated, including Who Ate Up All the Shinga?: An Autobiographical Novel, Weathered Blossom, and Sketch of the Fading Sun. In this collection by a canonical figure in Korean literature, meditations upon life in old age come to the fore—at its best, accompanied by great beauty and compassion; at its worst by a cynicism that nonetheless turns a bitter smile upon the changing world.
NO ONE WRITES BACK — Jang Eun-jin (tr. Jung Yewon) 199 pages
The story of a young man who leaves home with only his blind dog, an MP3 player, and a book, traveling aimlessly for three years, from motel to motel, meeting people on the road. Rather than learn the names of his fellow travelers—or invent nicknames for them—he assigns them numbers.