A modern classic of Korean literature
Yi Chong-jun’s haunting and disturbing novel Seopyeonje is set in the 1950s after the Korean War in the remote south of the country, home of the traditional art of pansori singing, a moving and plangently beautiful style of folk opera performed by travelling musicians.
The stories centre on a family of itinerant singers: a boy and his stepfather and half-sister; in one of the strangest and most haunting of novels, exploring themes such as forgiveness, the redemptive power of art and modern man’s loss of innocence and alienation from traditional values – the values at the heart of Seopyeonje.
A magic-realist gem, the novel employs epic, myth and fantasy to create a fusion of the real and the fantastic. Yi Chong-jun’s story has attained near-mythical status in South Korea, especially with the acclaimed and award-winning film of the novel breaking box-office records on its release in the 1990s.
Translated from the Korean by Ok Young Kim Chang
YI CHONG-JUN (1939–2008) was one of the leading South Korean novelists in recent years. Many of his works have been adapted for cinema and television. According to critic Kim Byeong-ik, Yi Chong-jun opened up a new pace of Korean literature before the true modern literature of Korea was established in the 1960s. Yi Chong-jun died from lung cancer at the age of 68 in 2008.
|Date Published||18th August 2011|