Tonight was the announcement of the shortlist for this year’s Man Asian Literature Prize, which, notably, Shin Kyoung-sook won last year becoming the first Korean and first woman to do so. Kim Young-Ha was long-listed for his book, Black Flower, about which KTLIT said this in our review:
Black Flower is a good book. It’s not as good, I think, as Your Republic is Calling You, but then again it was written before that book. It is one of the interesting things about translation that the English readers rarely get introduced to authors chronologically. That can be good or bad, since failed works probably won’t get translated, but it also robs English-language readers of the chance to watch an author develop.
In any case, I’d pick it up, either now in hardcover ($14.75, so a relative bargain), or wait a few months for the inevitable paperback to emerge. Kim is an author with a wide range of skills (this is nothing like his other translated works) and one for whom the future seems wide open. If you’re a fan of history, Korean modern literature, or Kim Young-ha, this is a really good read.
Alas, Kim did not make the short list, being beaten out by:
Between Clay and Dust – Musharraf Ali Farooqi (Pakistan)
The Briefcase – Hiromi Kawakami (Japan)
Silent House – Orhan Pamuk (Turkey)
The Garden of Evening Mists – Tan Twan Eng (Malaysia)
Narcopolis – Jeet Thayil (India)
LOL… a book from Turkey got on the “Asian” shortlist? I guess that’s why Man Asia says the selection is “pan-Asian?”^^
Anyway, the whole article is on the Man Asia website if you care to go look.