Contemporary Korean Literature in Translation: Background information when reading Love in the Big City

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Love in the Big City

by Sang Young Park

Love in the Big City by Sang Young Park X
Love in the Big City by Sang Young Park
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  • First Published:
    Nov 2021, 240 pages

    Paperback:
    Nov 15, 2022, 256 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Rachel Hullett
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About this Book

Contemporary Korean Literature in Translation

This article relates to Love in the Big City

Print Review

From Parasite to BTS to Squid Game, there's no shortage of brilliant Korean media and entertainment that has had international reach lately. Books are no exception, with Sang Young Park's Love in the Big City, translated into English by Anton Hur, being just one example. Here is a sampling of some other exciting novels that have been translated from Korean into English in recent years.

Covers of Korean books in translation

The Vegetarian, Human Acts and The White Book by Han Kang, all translated by Deborah Smith. One of the most notable South Korean novels of recent years is The Vegetarian, which got the attention of English-language readers when it won the International Booker in 2016. Two additional books by Han Kang, Human Acts and The White Book, were subsequently translated into English in Smith's characteristically gentle-yet-intense style. Each reckons in some way with grief, loss and the question of whether humans can truly live nonviolent lives.

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-joo, translated by Jamie Chang. The novel follows an ordinary woman, Kim Jiyoung, recounting the demoralizing sexism that has governed her life since birth. This international feminist bestseller made a splash in Korea when Irene from the K-pop group Red Velvet shared that she had enjoyed the book; she was met with backlash and denounced online by many fans.

At Dusk by Hwang Sok-yong, translated by Sora Kim-Russell. Longlisted for the International Booker, At Dusk is the rags-to-riches story of Park Minwoo, a man who claws his way out of poverty through education and becomes a successful businessman, only to have a figure from his childhood re-enter and upend his life.

Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung, translated by Anton Hur. Translated by the same talent that made Love in the Big City available to English-speaking audiences, Cursed Bunny is a collection of wonderfully weird short stories, blending horror, magical realism and themes of patriarchy.

Violets by Kyung-sook Shin, translated by Anton Hur. Hur's newest project is a title by international bestselling author Kyung-sook Shin, known widely for Please Look After Mom, which was translated into English by Chi-Young Kim. Violets will be available in English in 2022. It follows a young girl who falls in love with, and is rejected by, her best friend, in a story of queer desire and societal oppression.

Nowhere to Be Found by Bae Suah, translated by Sora Kim-Russell. Nowhere to Be Found is a novella that follows a nameless narrator searching for connections. Bae Suah has been a prolific author since the 1990s, publishing over a dozen works; this was her first book to be translated into English, in 2015.

Almond by Sohn Won-pyung, translated by Joosun Lee. A coming-of-age novel about a young boy born with a brain condition called alexithymia—the inability to recognize or express emotions—Almond is a brilliant debut novel about an unexpected friendship.

Blood Sisters by Kim Yideum, translated by Jiyoon Lee. This novel set against the backdrop of 1980s South Korea tells the story of a young woman struggling against cultural conservatism during a time when student demonstrations were being suppressed.

The Good Son by You-Jeong Jeong, translated by Chi-Young Kim. A propulsive psychological thriller reminiscent of The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Good Son is a recent novel by noted thriller writer You-Jeong Jeong.

Filed under Reading Lists

Article by Rachel Hullett

This article relates to Love in the Big City. It first ran in the January 5, 2022 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.

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