Talking with Krys Lee, the author of the new and excellent collection of short stories Drifting House, can be a little bit surreal. On the phone she is energetic and cheerful (even as, in our interview, she was fighting off a cough), and it is difficult to reconcile that personality with the solemn, often tragic tone of her short stories.
Still, KTLIT was ecstatic to interview author Lee, on a short break in her ongoing book tour, because her stories manage something quite difficult – they both represent the ongoing national issues often covered in Korean modern literature AND manage to be completely character/plot-driven stories of lives, generally on the edge.
Ms. Lee is a bit of an unusual subject for KTLIT as she writes in English, but having read her work and knowing her history (and a bit of Korean history as well), I’d argue she is one of the best “translators” Korean fiction has had ( I have to put Kim Yong-ik in that same category).
In any case, the interview:
If you’re going to buy this book in Seoul (which you absolutely should as Seoul is a grand city in which to purchase books!), be aware that this book is so popular that it has actually sold out at Kyobo (so reports author Lee in a Facebook message). There are at least 4 copies at What the Book (despite the website indicating that it must be ordered), and it should also be available at Bandi & Luni and Youngpoong.