I started writing the Los Angeles Review of Books Korea Blog on December 4th of last year, just three weeks after moving to Seoul from Los Angeles. One of my first posts covered a protest in Seoul Square; once of the most recent covered a series of demonstrations over the course of weeks that eventually brought up to a million citizens downtown to demand the resignation of President Park Geun-hye, the announcement of whose impeachment came just this past Friday. I’ll certainly be sticking around to see what happens next.
The year has proven stimulating politically but also culturally, what with events like novelist Han Kang and translator Deborah Smith winning the Man Booker International Prize for The Vegetarian. Charles Montgomery, who joined the Korea Blog after spending seven years teaching Korean literature in translation at Seoul’s Dongguk University, wrote about the victory and has since begun an ongoing serialization of his book-in-progress The Explorer’s History of Korean Fiction in Translation, the most recent installment of which you can read here.
Below you’ll find a selection of twelve of my essays from the Korea Blog’s first year, whose subjects range from Korea’s aforementioned protests to its educational culture to its cosmetic surgery to its art and architecture to its urban life to its Mexican food. It should provide something of a primer to readers new to the Korea Blog, but also a review of surfaces scratched. I look forward to going ever deeper into the literature, cinema, current events, and daily life of this fascinating country in the Korea Blog’s second year. As always, 읽어 주셔서 감사합니다.
Read the twelve selected essays at the Los Angeles Review of Books.