Jung-Myung Lee’s Painter of the Wind is set in Hanyang, as Seoul, the capital of the Joseon Dynasty in the late 18th century, was then known. The protagonists are fictionalized versions of Kim Hong-do and Shin Yun-bok, both real-life figures who are considered some of, if not the, finest painters of the Joseon Dynasty.
Greek Lessons by celebrated Korean author and Man Booker International Prize winner Han Kang is a brief, poetic, and intimate look into the lives of two people, each affected by a disability, both cleaved from society in their own way, yet progressively drawn together by their shared grief and nascent hope. The narration switches between the two, tracing their lives in a series of flashbacks or letters to loved ones that show how each progressively fell away from family and friends, either due to distance or death and divorce.
Hospital by acclaimed Chinese science-fiction writer Han Song is a kafkaesque trip through a fictional hospital turned nation-state that explores the Buddhist philosophy on suffering, the nature of the doctor-patient relationship, and the mental state of patients who suffer from chronic conditions.
Cheon Myeong-Kwan’s Whale is a sweeping epic mostly set in Pyeongdae, a remote mountain town that immediately evokes Macondo from Gabriel García Márquez’s similarly sprawling epic One Hundred Years of Solitude. Depicted with the same sort of dreamlike magical realism, Pyeongdae goes from a forgotten mountain hamlet to a booming railway city to a ghost town set against a fun, witty satire of Korea’s development from a Japanese colony to a prosperous independent republic.
A moving work of exceptional scholarship, Gwangju Uprising: The Rebellion for Democracy in South Korea was commissioned in an era of rising fake news to combat false narratives that had become popular on the internet, not the least of which was the idea that the events of the Gwangju Uprising were sparked by North Korean spies and agents provocateurs.
Set in a disturbing dystopia, Saha, Korean author Cho Nam-joo’s latest work following the wildly successful Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982, tells the story of the bottom rung of a dark society.
On the morning of his 43rd birthday, celebrated artist Lee Hanjo wakes up hungover and alone. His loving devoted wife is gone, only leaving behind the draft of a novel. To Hanjo’s horror, the book tells the story of an artist in his early 40s and his affair with a possibly underage girl. This manuscript will ruin him, but his mind is drawn back to a summer years before when the death of another girl changed his life.