Columbia University Press
Columbia University Press
These captivating short stories portray three major periods in modern Korean history: the forces of colonial modernity during the late 1930s; the postcolonial struggle to rebuild society after four decades of oppression, emasculation, and cultural exile (1945 to 1950); and the attempt to reconstruct a shattered land and a traumatized nation after the Korean War.
Lost Souls echoes the exceptional work of China's Shen Congwen and Japan's Kawabata Yasunari. Modernist narratives set in the metropolises of Tokyo and Pyongyang alternate with starkly realistic portraits of rural life. Surrealist tales suggest the unsettling sensation of colonial domination, while stories of the outcast embody the thrill and terror of independence and survival in a land dominated by tradition and devastated by war.
Written during the chaos of 1945, "Booze" recounts a fight between Koreans for control of a former Japanese-owned distillery. "Toad" relates the suffering created by hundreds of thousands of returning refugees, and stories from the 1950s confront the catastrophes of the Korean War and the problematic desire for autonomy. Visceral and versatile, Lost Souls is a classic work on the possibilities of transition that showcases the innovation and craftsmanship of a consummateand widely celebratedstoryteller.
The strength of this important volume is its focus on the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, not only offering us works that have not been translated before but also breaking down the colonial/postcolonial divide.Theodore Q. Hughes, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University
Notwithstanding the deep ideological divide that has structured the South Korean literary scene, Hwang Sunwon has always been acknowledged by many South Korean critics, from opposing camps, as one of the consummate masters of the short fiction genre. By rendering Hwang's beautifully crafted stories into equally superb English prose, Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton's translation introduces us to the universalist aesthetics Hwang endeavored to achieve, challenging the stereotyped and self-stereotyped notions of South Korean literature as narrowly ideological and politicized.Jin-Kyung Lee, University of California, San Diego
In this evocative collection, Korean novelist Hwang depicts the struggle of every man to survive in tumultuous mid-20th century Korea.Publishers Weekly
...a modernist piece of work...Korea Herald
The Broken Reed
Autumn with Piano
To Smoke a Cigarette
The Dog of Crossover Village
- Read a review from the Korea Herald.