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1) Pavane for a Dead Princess – I am currently working on a review for Pavane for a Dead Princess, by Park Min-gyu) for Acta Koreana, so I can’t say too much myself, but the delightful Tony (despite his Australianity^^) provides us with a review. It’s a good review, and properly places Pavane as probably the second best work in the overall series (I might place it at number one if I were a more post-modern reader, but in this case I agree) – lol, so again, trust Tony on this one despite his nationality.^^ Check his review out.
2) FlyLikeaSegal presents a rather idiosyncratic list of what to read before you go to Korea (or on the plane to Incheon). Here are the top 5 (the other 5 are randomly tossed in in non-list fashion):
- Korea Unmasked by Won-bok Rhie – this is essentially a cartoon book, full of simplifications and bizarre forays into the history and culture of other countries.
- Korea: The Impossible Country by Daniel Tudor – the one solid choice on the list, it is the The Koreans:
- Who They Are, What They Want, Where Their Future Lies by Daniel Breen for the 21’st century
- Please Look After Mom by Kyung-sook Shin – Not even her third best book – get The Place Where the Harmonium Was (insanely, Amazon fails to have this findable on its search engine) or I‘ll Be Right There if you are interested in anything other than the cult of the mother and the headache some people get when they read long works written in the second person.
- Brother One Cell by Cullen Thomas – excellent choice if you plan on using drugs and getting tossed into jail…. Oh…and DON’T get caught using illegal drugs on vacation. There, I’ve save you the money of buying the book.
- Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden – I suppose if you are a North Korean citizen unlucky enough to get tossed into a jail camp for vacation, this will come in extremely handy. Since for visitors to South Korea, the closest they will get to North Korea is craning their necks to look over the 38th parallel, this suggestion is almost ludicrous
Get the Tudor book, and a good guidebook, maybe read Meeting Mr. Kim to get the argument for visiting the countryside. The rest of this is……… well…..odd?
3) The General’s Beard. While on the topic of general weirdness, Korean.net, the “gateway to Korea” has just recommended the first novella penned by Lee Oyoung, who has had a successful literary career as a critic, novelist and poet, The General’s Beard (Which is actually titled, The General’s Beard: Two Novellas). Kind of weird considering all the new books coming out and that this book was published in 2002. It’s a good enough book, but not particularly relevant, and the article doesn’t even bother to mention that there is also a second novella in the book, a novella called Phantom Legs. LOL… I become suspicious of motives, when a major political figure like Lee Oyoung starts showing up in the papers for no apparent reason.