The interview is interesting, it focuses on Kim’s role (or non-role, or the balance of roles) as a “national” writer versus an “international” one. Noting that Kim’s theme’s tend to be less parochial than other Korean writers, the article also notes that Kim is more popular overseas than many other Korean writers. I’m not sure if this connection will quickly become clear to Korean institutions that produce translations, but I am hopeful.
The interview also focuses on Kim’s The Empire of Light, which will be published under the title of Your Republic Is Calling You in the English language edition. I am lucky enough to have read a pre-release copy of this book, and I think it should be a large success – Kim has tied a lot of his themes together in this book, and at the same time managed to tell a completely (in some ways) ‘suburban’ story that should provide easy access for any reader. That’s a bit of a mean feat.
But Kim goes on to (accurately, but likely to be controversial) that:
“Sixty years after the division, there’s a great difference between here and there,” Kim said. “They passed the time with their own system, so did we. The view that the two are one nation, I think, only causes misunderstandings.”
I can’t wait to see how he is reviewed in the Hankyoreh!
There is also an interesting anecdote about Kim pulling one of his works from a textbook in act of defiance against the “one answer” approach of Korean education.
Definitely worth looking over…
Kim Young-ha writes of elusive freedom in Korean urban life (Alas, the link has disappeared)