An outbreak of COVID-19 in North Korea may, indeed, become the ending point of greater cooperation between the two Koreas for the time being, but the two Koreas were arguably never really that close in the first place. Robert Lauler explains.
Thae Yong-ho’s memoir marks a bold attempt to push back the tide of South Korean public ambivalence toward North Korea, a sprawling 500-page narrative of his experiences in the DPRK diplomatic corps over twenty years and ending with his 2016 defection. Robert Lauler takes a look at this essential, if flawed, text.
South Korean novelist Kim Jin-myung released the behemoth “US-China War” in December last year. Kim controversially alleges that Washington’s strategic goal may not “merely” be the demolition of the DPRK, but crossing the Yalu to destroy the rising China, too. Robert Lauler reviews this pertinent and testy work of political fiction.
Where Deborah Smith’s translation of “The Accusation” opened up Bandi’s short stories for the English-speaking world, there are several novels by defector writers that are only in Korean. “Place of Human Desecration” is one. Robert Lauler reviews it.
In a new review for Sino-NK, Robert Lauler once again turns his attention to Korean literature centered around national division, taking a magnifying glass to The Intelligence Agent, the latest novel by Hong Sang-hwa.
Sino-NK doesn’t review many novels, but that doesn’t mean fiction is irrelevant. Quite the opposite. Here, Robert Lauler reviews the latest book by “Because I Hate Korea” author Jang Kang-myung, in which he sketches out a disturbing, dystopian portrait of a future unified Korea.