Following up on yesterday’s post, here is the sidebar on Kim Young-ha that ran in this month’s 10 Magazine (The best English-language magazine in Korea!) along with the general article on literature:
“Kim Young-ha: Writer of Darkness in an Empire of Light.”
Hard-bitten detectives whose wives have cheated; men hit by buses, slapped by women, trapped in elevators, humiliated at work, and doused in cold water (all in one day); A “suicidist” whose ‘art’ is to help others die, and; an embedded spy suddenly called back to North Korea. These are the dark topics that Korean writer Kim Young-ha has addressed in the last ten years.
Yet, for all the darkness of his topics, Kim writes with a light and clever touch, and as his second novel is being published in English (“Your Republic is Calling You,” originally “Empire of Light,” in Korean), Kim may be poised to break through the “English-language-barrier” for Korean writers.
Kim’s first work, “Photo Shop Murder” also contained “Whatever Happened to the Guy in the Elevator.” “Photo Shop Murder” is the tale of a classic anti-hero, an alienated cop with family trouble chasing down the murderer of a shop owner. “Whatever Happened to the Guy in the Elevator” is the absurdist and amusing story of a man for whom everything possible goes wrong, in a city far beyond caring. These are two short stories that get it just right.
Kim’s next work was “I Have the Right to Destroy Myself,” a dark tale of an aesthete whose tastes tend towards fine art and suicide. An existential examination of the meaning of life, death, eros, anomie and identity, it was particularly successful in France.
Now comes “Your Republic is Calling You” (Reviewed in 10 Magazine, September 2010) a kind of reverse-mystery. In one sense it’s a spy story, but it is also a meditation on the different kinds of “emptiness” in North and South Korea. Chock full of interesting details, and based on a true story, this should appeal to any reader.
“Photoshop Murder” is available for $7.00 on Amazon and in stores, “I Have the Right to Destroy Myself,” for $11.00 and “Your Republic is Calling You,” for $10.17. They can be found on Amazon, or in your local bookstore.
Check out Kim Young-ha’s work. It might be the next big thing!
Below is the sidebar as it looked in the article: