It looks like Shin Kyung-Sook’s “Please Look After Mom” may be the breakthrough novel that Korean Literature has been looking for. An article at the Chosun Ilbo (sorry, Korean only, so far) reports that even prior to its official publication, a second print run is being readied on top of the first run of 100,000 books. Barnes and Noble have already declared it “an important new publication” (perhaps among the top 15 best? My Korean is too shaky to tell) and it is currently sitting, pre-release, at 757 among all novels. with an average reader rating of 4.6 out of 5.
Shin is about to do a two-month tour (From April 11th until June 14th) of North American (7 cities including Seattle, Philadelphia, New York and Pittsburg) and Europe (8 countries including Spain, Portugal, Italy, Great Britain, France, Poland, and it looks like Canada), which is also outstanding, because it shows a real marketing effort is being made for this book (by the publisher, Knopf).
The article notes that this publication supercedes the number of copies of Kim Young-ha’s “Your Empire Is Calling You” and immediately becomes the most printed translation of Korean fiction in English.
Now, if she can only get on Oprah’s booklist!
A hat tip to Stephen Epstein (professor and translator extraordinaire) for pointing me to this article