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Kim Seungok (김승옥): two short story book reviews

Like a hyacinth that bursts into bloom and then fades, Kim Seungok (b. 1941) wrote more than 10 short stories, essays, screenplays and novellas between the ages of 21 and 25, between 1962 and 1966. His stories burst to fame at the time from the pages of Seoul’s newspapers and literary magazines, and most of his works are still read today. Kim led a wave of early and mid-1960s authors who were fed up with the prior dictator’s arrogance and nervous about the new dictator’s tightening grip. He wrote about rapid urbanization and the realities of living in these rapidly growing new cities. He wrote about how the human fits in between the city and the countryside, the modern and the past.

World War II in East Asia

In East Asia, the thing we call “World War II” began three times with three surprise Japanese attacks, in three broad and bloody phases, each nastier and more intense — and shorter — than the prior one, all of them… Read More ›

Understanding the U.S.

Beginner America: To understand the U.S. at the beginner’s level, read David Halberstam, William Manchester and Stephen E. Ambrose for your histories, and then James A. Michener and James Fenimore Cooper for your novels. That’s a good place for beginners;… Read More ›

When I say “Seoul”

Seoul. Seoul is one side of a line of infinitesimal dots. Seoul is always having another human within 5 meters of you 24-hours-per-day: above you, in front of you, behind you, below you, to your sides, all in 3D. Seoul… Read More ›

Korean Rock

Korean Rock by Gregory C. Eaves March 2014 … … 1974: two bright lights of culture in the darkness Look out over Seoul today. The metropolis is vast. The neon is bright. Glass and steel abound. The urban sprawl stretches… Read More ›

Lincoln died today, 154-years-ago

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) was shot yesterday 154-years-ago on April 14, 1865. He was 56-years-old. Lincoln’s death was Propaganda of the Deed. John Wilkes Booth (1838-1865), a Confederate sympathizer, was strongly opposed to the abolition of slavery. He did not see… Read More ›