Time Magazine on Hwang Sun-won’s “Lost Souls”

Times Magazine rather likes (Link rotted)

Hwang Sun-won

Lost Souls, a compilation of three early collections of stories Hwang — a highly influential Korean writer, who died in 2000 — wrote from the late 1930s through to the 1950s, now published for the first time in English

It’s pretty clearly along the “traditional” Korean pundhan munhak lines, with plenty of tragedy and trauma to go around:

Originally published as The Dog of Crossover Village in 1948, the second grouping (of seven stories) describes a ghastly ethical vacuum in the wake of World War II, infested with craven church elders, black marketeers and property speculators, which Hwang, who himself crossed over with his family from Pyongyang to Seoul in 1946, knew first-hand. “What a wretched state it was, with Koreans trying to swallow each other up,” he writes in “Booze,” venting authorial indignation, as he often does, in the guise of one of his characters.

Anyone interested in reading some of Hwang’s shorter works can head over to Brother Anthony’s page where he has a translation of  The Mule and Time For You and Me Alone. Hwang is perhaps most famous (in English)  for Crane or Sonagi, but he has also written the resolutely depressing, Descendants of Cain.

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