One of Korea’s most renowned 20th century authors, Pak Kyongni often wrote stories set in the aftermath of the war and during the several military dictatorships. Pak passed away in 2008, but her work has been revived in English with a recent collection in translation, The Age of Doubt. These seven stories are all set in the 1950s and ’60s, a far cry from the glitz and glamor of modern-day Seoul. Each of the seven stories, furthermore, is translated by a different translator. While the stories differ, and not just in translator, a similar sense of darkness pervades all of them.

Home is an overarching theme in May-Lee Chai’s engaging new collection, Tomorrow in Shanghai and Other Stories, as she covers ground from China to the United States to a science fiction land beyond Earth. Some stories overlap when it comes to the characters and others when it comes to places; together they comprise an interlocking array of what it means to have a home.

In the seventeen stories that make up Made in Hawaii, Cedric Yamanaka celebrates the different cultures in Hawaii that mix and mingle, sometimes in harmony and sometimes not. The stories are mostly dark, far from the vacation paradise and the beaches, luaus, volcano tours, and perhaps a visit to the Pearl Harbor National Memorial that attract holiday-makers. This is not the Hawaii advertised on travel brochures. 

Sayaka Murata’s English-language debut novel, Convenience Store Woman, caused a sensation when it appeared in a 2018 translation by Ginny Tapley Takemori. The story of an offbeat, thirty-something sales clerk at a “Smile Mart” helped spur a boom in English-language translations of Japanese literature, especially literature by women.

Fifty years ago, President Richard Nixon stepped off a plane in Beijing: a visit that changed the course of China, the US, the Cold war and the world. The stories in Gish Jen’s newest story collection, Thank You Mr Nixon, span the fifty-year relationship since then, from a Chinese woman press-ganged into translating for her Western tour group, to an English professor struggling to teach the wealthy Chinese students at his university.