Korean Fiction to Read in 2024

Korean Fiction to Read in 2024

 From poignant tales of love and loss to gripping narratives of mystery and intrigue, Korean literature offers a rich tapestry of storytelling that continues to enthrall readers worldwide. Dive into a curated selection of novels yet to be released in 2024, that illuminate the diverse facets of Korean culture, society, and human experience, promising a literary journey like no other.

Apartment Women by Gu Byeong-mo
A trenchant social novel from the award-winning author, Gu Byeong-mo, Apartment Women incisively illuminates the unspoken imbalance of women’s parenting labor, challenging the age-old assumption that “it takes a village” to raise a child. A story of family, marriage and the cultural expectations of motherhood, about four women whose lives intersect in dramatic and unexpected ways at a government-run apartment complex outside Seoul.

Ocean’s Godori by Elaine U. Cho
A thrilling adventure across the solar that delivers hyperkinetic action sequences and irresistible will-they-won't-they romance alongside its nuanced exploration of colonialism and capitalism, Ocean’s Godori ultimately asks: What do we owe our past? How do we navigate our present while honoring the complicated facets of our identity? What can our future hold? Ocean Yoon has never felt very Korean, even if she is descended from a long line of haenyeo, Jeju Island’s beloved female divers. When her best friend, Teo, second son of the Anand Tech empire, is framed for murdering his family, Ocean and her misfit crewmates are pushed to the forefront of a high-stakes ideological conflict. But dodging bullets and winning space chases may be the easiest part of what comes next.

A Magical Girl Retires by Park Seolyeon, translated by Anton Hur 
Twenty-nine, depressed, and drowning in credit card debt after losing her job during the pandemic, a millennial woman decides to end her troubles by jumping off Seoul’s Mapo Bridge. Park Seolyeon reimagines classic fantasy tropes in a novel that explores real-world challenges that are both deeply personal and universal: the search for meaning and the desire to do good in a world that feels like it’s ending. A fun, fast-paced, and enchanting narrative that sparkles thanks to award-nominated translator Anton Hur, A Magical Girl Retires reminds us that we are all magical girls—that fighting evil by moonlight and winning love by daylight can be anyone's game.

The Black Orb by Ewhan Kim, translated by Sean Lin Halbert 
One evening in downtown Seoul, Jeong-su is smoking a cigarette outside when he sees something a huge black orb appears out of nowhere and sucks his neighbour inside. The orb soon begins consuming other people and no one knows how to stop it. But the strangest phases of this ever-expanding disaster are yet to come and Jeong-su will be forced to question everything he has taken for granted. Dryly funny, propulsive and absurd, The Black Orb is terrifyingly prescient about the fragility of human civilisation.

The New Seoul Park Jelly Massacre by Cho yeeun, translated by Yewon Jung
At New Seoul Park, Korea’s greatest theme park, an enigmatic man tempts visitors with a mysterious jelly candy that promises an unbreakable bond. As the sun beats down on a muggy summer afternoon, a child separated from her disinterested parents, a single mother striving to create a memorable day on a shoestring budget, and a couple on the brink of splitting up, all end up tasting this ominous candy. Masterfully translated by Yewon Jung, The New Seoul Park Jelly Massacre weaves a chilling tale of deceptive sweetness and the body horror of slowly melting into your loved ones.

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Date 30.04.2024