Some Things from London Korean Links

On my weekly tour of London Korean Links, I saw a couple of things that have specific application to Korean Modern Literature.

The first one is a review of The Curious Tale of Mandogi’s Ghost. LKL says:

Looks like an interesting new book about to hit UK bookshops on 29 September, from Columbia University Press: The Curious Tale of Mandogi’s Ghost by Kim Sok-pom

And reprints the publisher’s blurb so we can check it out. It’s an interesting looking book, and the cover is just great looking (which sounds like faint praise, but as a marketer I can tell you it’s not). I’ll come back to this one, once I’ve read it, because from the blurb it seems like a very interesting, very complicated book, that will be a very big failure to sell or do anything to advance Korean culture outside of Korea.

Next is a an essay on Park Wan-suh’s Who Ate Up All The Shinga, a book I really liked and reviewed here. The essay is by Alice Bennell, who won last year’s Korean Literature Translation Institute essay contest on “There a Petal Silently Falls.” She only won this contest, of course, because it was limited to people in the UK, and thus I could not send in a submission.^^ Here is an excerpt:

What is remarkable about Who Ate Up All the Shinga is that we witness the life events that shaped the author as an artist, alongside a backdrop of a difficult period of Korea’s modern history. As she grows into an adolescent, not only does her personal life become more complex, but Korea’s political situation darkens and culminates into full-blown civil war. The universal theme of growing up, of the turmoil of one’s developing identity during adolescence, is amplified by Korea’s own identity crisis.

Finally, a review of “Your Republic is Calling You” that focuses on some slightly different things than KTLIT focused on in our review. The line that struck me hardest has little to do with the book per se:

Kim Young-ha’s latest novel to be translated is a breath of fresh air compared with much Korean literature available in translation. It is to be hoped that it reaches a wide audience: it certainly deserves to.

In fact.. that line seems to me possible to apply (in a reverse fashion) to The Curious Tale of Mandogi’s Ghost.

I hope I’m wrong……

Buying the book will tell…

One thought on “Some Things from London Korean Links

  1. Dear Charles,

    Thank you for your interest in my essay for this year’s LTI Korea Literature Essay Contest (on Park Wan-Suh’s Who Ate Up All The Shinga). I would like to clarify that I did not win the essay contest this year. I won last year for my essay on Ch’oe Yun’s “There a Petal Silently Falls” and came 3rd overall worldwide.

    Many thanks and best wishes,
    Alice Bennell

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