Korean Books To Read Before Visiting S.Korea: South Korea, formerly known as the Hermit Kingdom for rejecting western envoys and the Land of the Morning Calm for its majestic mountain ranges and serene valleys, is now renowned for its cutting-edge technology and pop-star mania, and it frequently makes headlines due to its tense relations with its neighbour, North Korea. South Korea was among the world’s poorest countries at the end of the Korean War in 1953. Both its population and its cities were in ruins. After a string of democratically elected administrations was overthrown by military dictatorships and autocrats, South Korea’s Sixth Republic eventually built a liberal democracy that allowed the country to prosper.

Kyung-Sook Shin – Please Look After Mom

9 Korean Books To Read Before Visiting S.Korea - Kyung-Sook Shin - Please Look After Mom
9 Korean Books To Read Before Visiting S.Korea – Kyung-Sook Shin – Please Look After Mom

The children of So-no, 69, who gets separated from her husband in the bustle of the Seoul metro station before disappearing, are overcome by shrill accusations and are drowning in grief and shame. They discover that none of them has a current picture of Mom while they fight about the “Missing” flyers they are placing throughout the city—how much of a prize to offer, how to word the text. A bigger query quickly arises: Do they know the woman they named Mom?

Han Kang – The White Book

Han Kang - The White Book
Han Kang – The White Book

An unnamed narrator explores the dual white worlds of the blank page and winter Warsaw while on a writing residence. THE WHITE BOOK develops into a contemplation on the colour white and a fictional voyage that was motivated by an older sister who passed away in her mother’s arms when she was just a few hours born. The narrator struggles with the catastrophe that has plagued her family; she paints the incident in stark white, including the breast milk, swaddling bands, and the baby’s skin colour of rice cake. From there, she visits other families.

Park Seongwon – What Makes a City?

9 Korean Books To Read Before Visiting S.Korea - Park Seongwon - What Makes a City?
9 Korean Books To Read Before Visiting S.Korea – Park Seongwon – What Makes a City?

The storylines were made more intense by the writing (or translation), which could transport me to the book’s fictional setting. You can infer many more meanings and messages from the book while thinking about how it relates to your life and the way you live. The book offers you potential meanings and messages. What Makes a City? is a collection of short stories that should be read one per day and given some thought rather than being read cover to cover.

Elisa Shua Dusapin – Winter in Sokcho

Elisa Shua Dusapin - Winter in Sokcho
Elisa Shua Dusapin – Winter in Sokcho

Sokcho, a tourist destination on the border between South and North Korea, is experiencing winter. Everything is slowed down by the cold. Bodies are crimson and raw, fish turn poisonous, and from the North’s watchtowers, guns can be seen pointing beyond the shore. In a run-down inn, a young French-Korean woman staffs the front desk. An unexpected visitor shows up one evening: a French cartoonist seeking to find inspiration in this barren environment.

Yun Ko-eun – The Disaster Tourist

9 Korean Books To Read Before Visiting S.Korea - Yun Ko-eun - The Disaster Tourist
9 Korean Books To Read Before Visiting S.Korea – Yun Ko-eun – The Disaster Tourist

Yona has spent the last 10 years working behind a desk as a coordinator for Jungle, a tour operator that specialises in vacation packages to places that have been severely affected by natural disasters and climate change. Her working life is uneventful until a predatory coworker causes problems.

Yona is offered a paid “holiday” on the barren island of Mui by Jungle to prevent any upset with the status quo. Yona must yet assume the role of a traveller and decide if Jungle should keep working with the unsuccessful location. Yona visits the far-flung island, whose main draw is a disappointing sinkhole that the tourists who paid a premium are sure to find disappointing.

Yona soon learns that the resort is planning to create a disaster to repair their relationship with Jungle, and the manager asks Yona’s assistance. Yona is forced to decide between the harsh organisation she has given her life to and the opportunity for a new beginning in a significant new role. Yona becomes aware that her life, as well as the lives of Mui’s citizens, are at risk as she starts to comprehend the true cost of the created catastrophe.

Gong Ji-Young – Our Happy Time

Gong Ji-Young - Our Happy Time
Gong Ji-Young – Our Happy Time

You already know how it will turn out. A heart-breaking but lovely tale. Beautiful, rich, and intelligent Yu-Jung is recovering from her third suicide attempt while laying in a hospital bed when she receives a visit that will change her life. A nun who is her no-nonsense aunt asks that Yu-Jung goes with her on a humanitarian visit to a death row.

Even at her lowest, Yu-Jung remains resolute. But she is forced to visit the prison for whatever reason. There she meets Yun-Soo, a killer who has been found guilty and is about to be executed. Even though she finds his deeds abhorrent, she is moved by the depth of his suffering. She visits him again the following week after their experience has left her shaken. the following…

Han Kang – The Vegetarian

9 Korean Books To Read Before Visiting S.Korea - Han Kang - The Vegetarian
9 Korean Books To Read Before Visiting S.Korea – Han Kang – The Vegetarian

Yeong-hye and her spouse led routine lives before the nightmare. But Yeong-he chooses to cleanse her mind and stop eating meat when fragmenting, bloody pictures begin to torment her thoughts. Yeong-decision he’s to embrace a more “plant-like” existence is a surprising act of subversion in a nation where social mores are carefully observed. Scandal, abuse, and estrangement start to drive Yeong-hye sliding deep into the corners of her dream, and as her passive rebellion develops in increasingly more severe and terrible forms, they intensify. Her now-perilous quest will transport Yeong-hye—impossibly, exuberantly, tragically—far from her once-known self completely through a total metamorphosis of both mind and body.

Masaji Ishikawa – A River of Darkness: One Man’s Escape from North Korea

Masaji Ishikawa - A River of Darkness: One Man’s Escape from North Korea
Masaji Ishikawa – A River of Darkness: One Man’s Escape from North Korea

Masaji Ishikawa, who is half Japanese and half Korean, has felt like a man without a nation his entire life. Ishikawa’s family accidentally joined the lowest social caste when they relocated from Japan to North Korea when he was just thirteen years old, which only served to exacerbate this feeling. His father, a native of Korea, was enticed to the new Communist nation by promises of plenty of jobs, a better life for his kids, and a higher position in society. But their new life’s reality was far from ideal.

Cho Nam-joo – Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982

9 Korean Books To Read Before Visiting S.Korea - Cho Nam-joo - Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982
9 Korean Books To Read Before Visiting S.Korea – Cho Nam-joo – Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982

Kim Jiyoung resides in a compact, orderly apartment on the outskirts of Seoul, a chaotic metropolis. She is a 30-year-old “millennial everywoman” who recently quit her desk job to provide full-time care for her new-born daughter, as is expected of so many Korean women. Jiyoung impersonates the voices of other women alive and even dead, both known and unknown to her, her husband, parents, and in-laws. These peculiar symptoms swiftly cause concern in her husband, parents, and in-laws. Her uneasy spouse refers her to a male psychiatrist as she descends further into this madness.

Also Read: Types of Ending In a Novel or Story

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