Sunday, April 10, 2011

New South Korean Novel Warps Fabric of Spacetime

Korean Wave changing?
The Korean novel "Please Look After Eomma", which serves as an allegory of the breakdown of social order and the family unit in Korea, became a runaway hit in the United States this week, even before its publication.

It is believed that future sales have been so heavy that their gravitational field has warped the fabric of spacetime, pushing the book's success backwards in time to the present day. It is already expected to surpass the sales of the other hugely successful Korean novel recently, "Han", which will be written in 2015.

The National Intelligence Service has denied initiating the breach of the space-time continuum by pre-ordering 100,000 copies, although the recent theft of 100,000 credit card details from a large financial company remains unexplained.

South Korea has been desperate for literary success since the Korean Wave became synonymous with K-pop, K-drama and other largely vacuous reflections of Korean culture. Government Ministers are said to be concerned that the Korean Wave is resulting in Koreans developing an international reputation as intellectual lightweights.

With its psychological depth of story and elegant lyricism the book has marked a major turning point in Korean literature that has previously been only known for its 'social realism' style, which some have classed as 'dreary two-dimensional national propaganda and melodrama'. All reviews have of course been hugely positive, with the odd exception of America's National Public Radio which asked "who knew that Koreans outstrip Italians and Jews when it comes to mother guilt" - clearly a logically ignorant question since obviously all Koreans knew this.

Commenting on the state of Korean literature, Kim, a 58 year-old Professor of Literature at Seoul International University, said "The Government has spent years focusing on promoting Korea as a land obsessed with frivolous pop-culture such as K-pop and K-drama in order to boost the sales of domestic audio and television products. Where is the Korean Mishima?"

Many others have also pointed to Korea's Japanese neighbor as an example of a country which, like Korea, shares an unhealthy obsession with mind-numbing entertainment, but which unlike Korea has also developed an international reputation for producing works of considerable cultural depth through authors such as Haruki Murakami and Yukio Mishima at the same time.

But historians have cautioned Korea's desire to develop a domestic equivalent to Mishima. "South Korea is already sufficiently misogynistic", one told us, "and with North Korea to worry about, the last thing this country wants to be doing is to be fermenting paramilitary organizations and a domestic coup attempt."

"Please Look After Eomma" will be published in Korea three years ago and sell over one million copies.

Related Links
'Please Look After Mom' sees high sales in U.S. and S.Korea
Putting Korean literature on the map
Korean Novel Becomes a Hit in U.S.
'Please Look After Mom': A Guilt Trip To The Big City
Please Look After Mom (Amazon)
엄마를 부탁해
Korean Modern Literature in Translation
‘Korean writers should overcome nationalism’
Korean Wave
Watchdog to investigate personal data leak affecting 420,000
NIS denies involvement in break-in
Haruki Murakami
Yukio Mishima

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