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Library of Korean Literature

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  • The Private Lives of Plants by Lee C. Lee
    The Private Lives of Plants (English, Paperback) Lee C. Lee

    The Private Life of Plants is about the ways in which desire can both worsen and mitigate our flaws. We meet amputee sons whose mothers cart them from brothel to brothel; we meet brothers who love their brother's lovers, and whose lovers in turn are stolen away by the husbands of their sisters. Sexuality in all its ugliness and wonder is put under the microscope by Lee Seung-U, who reminds us that...

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  • At Least We Can Apologize by Lee Ki
    At Least We Can Apologize (English, Paperback) Lee Ki

    A kaleidoscope of minornuisances and major grievances, this novel heralds a new comic voice in Koreanletters.

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  • Another Man's City - A Novel by Choi In-Ho
    Another Man's City - A Novel (English, Paperback) Choi In-Ho

    "Another Man's City "is structured as a virtual-reality narrative manipulated by an entity referred to variously as the Invisible Hand or Big Brother. The scenario is reminiscent of Peter Weir's 1998 film "The Truman Show" and Kazuo Ishiguro's novel "The Unconsoled." The novel begins with a series of seemingly minor juxtapositions of the familiar and the strange, as a result of which the...

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  • A Most Ambiguous Sunday and Other Stories by Jung Young-moon
    A Most Ambiguous Sunday and Other Stories (English, Hardback) Jung Young-moon

    Considered an eccentric in the traditional Korean literary world and often compared to Kafka, Jung Young-moon's short stories have nonetheless won numerous readers both in Korea and abroad.

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  • House with a Sunken Courtyard by Kim Won
    House with a Sunken Courtyard (English, Paperback) Kim Won, Ji-moon Suh

    An occasionallyterrifying and always vivid portrayal of what it was like to live as a refugeeimmediately after the end of the Korean War.

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  • Mannequin by Ch'oe Yun
    Mannequin (English, Paperback) Ch'oe Yun

    Ch'oe Yun's Mannequin is a novel that reflects on the meaning of beauty and its many facets of existence. The beauty of the main character, Jini, is captured through a carefree imagination that describes it as ?the music of the wind,? or something that can't be described in words. Through the beauty that penetrates and captivates us in fleeting moments, the novel leads us to critically reflect on...

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  • Scenes from the Enlightenment - A Novel of Manners by Namcheon Kim
    Scenes from the Enlightenment - A Novel of Manners (English, Paperback) Namcheon Kim

    Scenes from the Enlightenment: A Novel of Manners was published in 1939, toward the end of the Japanese colonial period in Korea, and depicts seemingly trivial events in the lives of the residents of a small town northeast of Pyongyang: a wedding between two local families, the arrival of box upon box of fascinating new Western products at the Japanese-run general store, a long-awaited athletics...

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  • God Has No Grandchildren by Kimoon Kim
    God Has No Grandchildren (English, Paperback) Kimoon Kim

    The nine stories that make up this collection depict a wide variety of contemporary Koreans navigating a world focused on material wealth and social power, in which family ties have been disrupted and all relationships are dysfunctional. Unpredictable and enigmatic, these tales, though taking place in what would appear to be a shallow, materialistic environment, are nonetheless woven through with...

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  • Evening Proposal by Hye-young Pyun
    Evening Proposal (English, Paperback) Hye-young Pyun

    Evening Proposal is a collection of eight stories about the grim and often faceless nature of urban life. Faintly reminiscent of Franz Kafka, the stories range from a man who discovers that his job performance has no significance while taking refuge in taking care of an abandoned rabbit to a man who finally expresses his love to discover that his expression frightened him more than his fear in...

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  • Rina by Kang Kang
    Rina (English, Paperback) Kang Kang

    Rina is a defector from a country that might be North Korea, traversing an "empty and futile" landscape. Along the way, she is forced to work at a chemical plant, murders a few people, becomes a prostitute, runs a lucrative bar, and finds a solace in a motley family of wanderers all as disenfranchised as she. Brutal and unflinching, with elements of the mythic and grotesque interspersed with...

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  • Son of Man by Yi Yi
    Son of Man (English, Paperback) Yi Yi

    One of the greatest living Korean writers here details the quest of a young seminary student seeking transcendence, running through many Western and East Asian theologies in the process. Deciding that Jesus was not truly "the son of man," the student sets out to create his own alternative to Christ, and winds up dead. Soon, the detective called in to solve the killing winds up with more than a...

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  • The Library of Musical Instruments by Jung-hyuk Kim
    The Library of Musical Instruments (English, Paperback) Jung-hyuk Kim

    "The second short-story collection by Kim Jung-hyuk, the author of Penguin News, features a total of eight short stories, including "Syncopation D" which won the 2nd Kim You-jeong Literary Award in 2008. They represent the many sounds sampled by the author when he recorded over 600 kinds of musical instruments. Like instruments coming together in a symphony, the stories combine to make an opus...

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  • Pavane for a Dead Princess - A Novel by Min-gyu Park
    Pavane for a Dead Princess - A Novel (English, Paperback) Min-gyu Park

    Park Min-gyu has been celebrated and condemned for his attacks upon what he perceives as the humorlessness of contemporary Korean literature. Pavane for a Dead Princess is his attack upon the beauty-fetish that reigns over popular culture, detailing the relationship between a man with matinee-idol good looks and "the ugliest woman of the century." To complicate matters further, Park also includes...

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  • The Soil by Yi Kwang
    The Soil (English, Paperback) Yi Kwang

    A major, never before translated novel by the author of Mujông / The Heartless?often called the first modern Korean novel.

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  • One Spoon on This Earth by Hyun Ki
    One Spoon on This Earth (English, Paperback) Hyun Ki

    An autobiographical novel that takes a life to pieces, One Spoon on this Earth stands a sort of digest of contemporary Korean history as it might be seen through the lens of one man's life and opinions.

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  • When Adam Opens His Eyes by Jung Jung
    When Adam Opens His Eyes (English, Paperback) Jung Jung, Sun-ae Hwang

    First published in 1990, this is a sensational and highly controversial novel by one of Korea's most electrifying contemporary authors, which plows through contemporaneous Korean mores with aplomb.

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  • The Square by In-hun Choi
    The Square (English, Paperback) In-hun Choi

    This groundbreaking classic of Korean modernism tackles the shattering effect of the division of Korea. Taking place just before the Korean War, it follows its protagonist as he travels to the North hoping to escape what he sees as the repressive right-wing regime in the South... only to find that a different sort of lie reigns in the so-called worker's paradise. Implying that both communism and...

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  • Lonesome You by Wan-Suh Park
    Lonesome You (English, Paperback) Wan-Suh Park, Elizabeth Haejin Yoon

    In this collection by a canonical figure in Korean literature, meditations upon life in old age come to the fore?at its best, accompanied by great beauty and compassion; at its worst by a cynicism that nonetheless turns a bitter smile upon the changing world.

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  • A Contrived World by Jung Young-Moon
    A Contrived World (English, Paperback) Jung Young-Moon

    Set in San Francisco, A Most Contrived World recounts the author's visit to the mythic Californian city. While the novel is based in this real experience, the narrator's imaginative reflections cause the narrative to balloon outward into the realms of fiction and fantasy. Each chance encounter provides an opportunity to unfurl a fictional world that simultaneously complements and compromises the...

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  • No One Writes Back by Jang Eunjin
    No One Writes Back (English, Paperback) Jang Eunjin, Yewon Jung

    Communication?or the lack thereof?is the subject of this sly update of the picaresque.

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