Just some Kim Young-ha reviews that popped up as I was culling the internet. They like his work, and two of them comment on the covers.
First, perhaps my favorite just because of its title:
Short, Sexy and Suicidal by dardenitaaa over at her fine blog Assorted Paperjams.
I was drawn to that strong, thesis-statement-sounding title not only because it’s in a lengthy declarative form, but also because there’s obviously something so cynical and defensive about it which, yes, prematurely betrayed a spoiler on the novel plot, but for the most part, intensified its come hither-aura already embodied by its sleek cover design
Which just tickles me pink, since it is one of the marketing points I have often tried to make about most Korea translated fiction – its covers are turnoffs. Good point about the excellence of the title, as well. But once she began reading, it became more than that:
it was so beautifully written, it’s somewhat painful. Young-Ha Kim has definitely mastered crime aesthetics and the elegance of death as his style and niche. Over-all, I have the right to destroy myself has been an exhilaratingly existential read. It moved me in ways that made me feel sorry for the characters. But above all, it paradoxically evoked a sense of gratefulness in me—I appreciated that I could still appreciate life and all the small things.
So I’m taking that as a thumbs up. ^^
Along the same lines, at Everyday the Wonderful Happens the unnamed author comes right out and admits that she only read “Your Republic is Calling You” because of the cover:
I just finished reading my first Korean novel. I say “first” as if I have a slew of other Korean novels lined up to read, which is not the case. This one was a fluke as it was on the new fiction wall at my library, and the cover caught my eye.
Of course, she still liked it^^:
It was really, really good, and I think I’m going to try to read another book by this dude (“I Have the Right to Destroy Myself”) if my library system has it.
The excellent Clare Dudman from Keeper of the Snails talks about “Your Republic is Calling You” and notes the existence of “Monster” which can be found on his web page. The Keeper says:
On AuthorTrek’s Young-Ha Kim’s page there is a great essay about what the US might mean to some of the rest of the world, and ends musing about the role of writers:
‘Novels and poems allow us to stand in other’s position and see ourselves through their eyes.‘
Young-Ha Kim provides some more good quotes in his book Your Republic is Calling You. I particularly like ‘Life is a continuous cycle of once terrifying things becoming normal.’
Finallly, at Young, there are two reviews of “Your Republic is Calling You,” one that really likes the book and one that finds the author liking the book the next day. Here’s a money quote:
if you have for the Kindle edition and 5 hours of your time, go and buy the book and while your time away in laughter. If not, it’s worth a call and detour to your local public library. If Korean literature is or will become characterized by this solemn humor, I’ll eagerly await future translations of Korean works.
Interesting to see that people are still coming to Kim’s books – it’s a good sign.