“If you’re looking for a book that will make you gasp out loud, you’ve found it.” So says Kirkus and dozens of other publications and reviewers who can’t stop talking about Flowers of Mold, myself included. Op-Ed: On the COVID frontlines, we’re tired of hearing lame excuses for risky behavior. There are voyages through Korean history, assassinations and suicides and bone-chilling family dramas, with a little of the phantasmagorical thrown in if that’s your thing. In the novel, Han Yu-jin is awakened by the smell of blood in his Seoul home, only to discover his mother has been murdered in the kitchen, her throat slit and her body carefully posed. I love Man Booker International Prize winner The Vegetarian by Han Kang and it’s a great place to start this list. Mi-Ae Seo’s chilling homage to ‘Silence of the Lambs’ joins a burgeoning genre. Complete with striking drawings by Fi Jae Lee and a fascinating interview and translator’s note that captures the fierce intelligence of both author and translator, Autobiography of Death feels like one of the most important books I’ve ever read. The author served as an assistant detective with the South Korean Army’s military police before turning to fiction. In her follow-up to The Vegetarian, Han drops readers into a mass of deteriorating corpses that came to a gruesome end: the student demonstrators of South Korea’s 1980 Gwangju Uprising. A novel of secrets, isolation, and grief, The Hole is a tightly-executed feat of writing. The total of the fairy tales books of the drama is five and they are available to purchase. Karen Powell’s “The River Within” is far more than a “Downton Abbey"-derived Yorkshire mystery; it’s the anatomy of a caste system that’s never gone away. If you want more Kim Sagwa, pick up her newest release (also about young adults) B, Book, and Me translated by Sunhee Jeong. Pyun is the first Korean native to have a short story published in the New Yorker. The Hunger Games (Eng-Kor) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Eng-Kor) Animal Farm (Eng-Kor) The Great Gatsby (Eng-Kor) The Fourth Tree With Eleven Stories. What you do — how we ALL act in the next six weeks — will make the difference between an inconvenient fall and a disaster that will take years to overcome. Blood Sisters, the debut novel from celebrated poet Kim Yideum, tells the story of Jeong Yeoul, a college student coping with the aftermath of the violent suppression of student demonstrations in South Korea. As Reseng steps out of line, he comes to feel trapped between the teachings of his mentor and the corporate sensibilities of the new wave, embodied by Hanja, a former Old Raccoon acolyte with his own shop — “like any other boss of a security company.” Hanja has the hit men killing one another and Reseng on the run. But something disturbing lies just below the surface. Sign up for the Los Angeles Times Book Club. The list of top Korean crime novelists published in English — some of whom I’ve read, others I can’t wait to read — is woefully short but sure to grow. While “The Plotters” might not work for mystery purists, Kim never lets the pace lag in this wild yet thought-provoking novel. Sagwa captures all that’s complicated about adolescence in Mina but goes further, portraying a disaffected generation cracking under the pressures of perfection and the drive for success in a time that could only be our own. Researchers have created an interactive map that estimates the risk you’ll face in any county. In Lee’s lyrical telling, Yun’s poems so move Yuichi that he vows to protect them and the poet even as World War II comes to its horrific end. They are largely historical but frequently incorporate mystery elements. Some lighter editions might not have the full contents of the original works, these books certainly will help and entertain the readers who want to read and at the same time study languages. “The latest in the trend of brilliant female Korean authors to appear in English, Ha cuts like a surgeon, and even the most mundane objects become menacing and unfamiliar under her scalpel.” And stay tuned for Bluebeard’s First Wife, another collection by Seong-Nan Han and translated by Janet Hong that comes out in June. Look for Jeong’s next thriller, “Seven Years of Darkness,” out from Penguin in June. Yu-Jin’s constant headaches may remind readers of recent unreliable-narrator mysteries, but Jeong unspools the truth in a way that will make you fear for his community and remaining family. “The Hole” tells the story of Oghi, a tenured professor paralyzed by a car crash that killed his wife. Together these narratives form a fictionalized account of the South Korean Gwangju Uprising in 1980. While on a writer’s residency, a nameless narrator reckons with the death of her older sister, who died only a few hours old and left an inedible mark on the narrator and her family. Thank you for signing up! “The Plotters,” Kim’s energetic 2019 English-language debut, starts out as a character study of Reseng, a 32-year-old Seoul hit man rescued as an infant from a garbage can by nuns, then adopted by an assassin known only as Old Raccoon and raised in a library/criminal headquarters called the Doghouse. Nowhere to Be Found follows a nameless narrator’s search not for meaning, but for meaninglessness, in contemporary South Korea. Check out our In Translation category. The book will expose you to a slice of Korean vocabulary that’s central to everyday life. Here the genius of the book becomes fully evident, as Hye-Young Pyun creates a fast-paced and all consuming story with a bedridden narrator. Author and translator Don Lee Choi calls Kim Sagwa “South Korea’s young, brilliant, fearless writer” and it’s hard to argue after reading Sagwa’s shocking and powerful debut, Mina. ‘We’ve always had to battle complacency’: Authors Ijeoma Oluo and Emmanuel Acho in conversation. Can you have Thanksgiving during the COVID-19 pandemic? “The Investigation,” his first to be published in English, was a Vanity Fair top mystery pick for 2015. Make particular note of the forthcoming titles — signs of much more to come. Korean meals come in a colorful assortment of veggies as the main course or as side dishes, and the cuisine has recently been heralded internationally as a … If you loved the critically acclaimed and astonishing film Parasite—directed by Bong Joon-ho, with a screenplay cowritten by Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won—and you’re looking for more great Korean artistry to scratch that itch, look no further than the incredible books in translation coming out of South Korea right now. Sebald, Franz Kafka, and Jenny Erpenbeck. Jan Morris perfectly captured the world — and Los Angeles too, Jan Morris, the writer and transgender pioneer who died Friday, should also be remembered for her perceptive 1976 essay “Los Angeles: The Know-How City.”, (Ecco / Arcade / Anchor / Penguin Books / Pegasus Books), Is it really necessary to shut down L.A. County? I love Man Booker International Prize … Powerful and haunting, this collection translated by Don Mee Choi “gives voice to those unjustly killed during Korea’s violent contemporary history” and grapples with the “structure of death” that we’re all living in, individually and collectively. You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times. Unable to move or communicate, Oghi searches desperately for a way to escape while also going over the difficult truths of his life and marriage—truths his mother-in-law is now well-aware of. Get the latest news, events and more from the Los Angeles Times Book Club, and help us get L.A. reading and talking. Bae Suah is one of the hottest, most experimental voices coming out of South Korea right now. Other Lee novels that blend murder and international politics include “The Boy Who Escaped Paradise,” about a young, North Korean defector with Asperger’s. Coming in May 2020 from Pyun is “The Law of Lines,” a book more firmly in the mystery genre that’s definitely on my list.

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