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Diary of a Vagabond
Diary of a Vagabond
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Song Yong - Author
Jason Park - Translated with an introduction and notes by
Codhill Press
Price: $20.00 
Paperback - 189 pages
Release Date: August 2010
ISBN10: N/A
ISBN13: 978-1-930337-35-0

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Summary

Song Yong is not one of the more celebrated writers in Korea but more of an outsider looking in on the mainstream writing establishment in Korea. His work has never seen commercial success, nor is it well known in Korea, although he is respected among prominent literary critics. The lack of interest in Korean literature in North America makes it difficult to find a publishing venue for “out-of-the ordinary” fiction such as Song Yong’s…

“Song Yong’s fictional world is different from the mainstream Korean fiction in the ’70s and ’80s that tended to reflect the political struggle for democracy and the consequences of rapid industrialization. It focuses on the alienation of individuals who are marginalized from society for various reasons. They are vulnerable within a homogenous society where dominant public discourse enforces rigid hierarchy, obedience, and conformity. There is little precedent in Korean fiction for Song Yong’s calm, subdued, and often detached narrative voice. He is one of the few Korean writers influenced by existentialism in the ’70s, and the themes of existential angst and despair appear throughout his work…

“Song Yong’s stories have a surreal tone which is rare in Korean fiction … His stories never follow a standard formula or contrived plots but employ a unique narrative voice and technique that can be identified as distinctly his. They may deal with taboo topics in Korean society such as the unequal American-Korean relationship, materialism, and disturbing physical and mental abuses prevalent in the Korean military penal system … Song Yong’s stories display a Kafkaesque world of ordinary people trapped in authoritarian society. They present a different Asian fiction to readers accustomed to the two most common genres: Chinese books on Mao’s cultural revolution and Murakami’s brand of weird-for-weird’s-sake Japanese fiction.” — from the Introduction by translator Jason Park

“Song Yong’s strange complex stories exhibit masterful control of language and narrative drive. They explore themes of existentialism such as existential anxiety and despair and deal with the plight of helpless characters trapped in an absurd world with no way out.” — Byung-ik Kim, former publisher and editor of Moonji Publications and Moonji Quarterly

Born in Youngkwang, Korea in 1940, Song Yong studied German language and literature at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. After several years as a fugitive from compulsory military duty, he was arrested and sent to prison, but was released by a sympathetic judge who had learned that he was a writer. His first short story, “Cock-Fighting,” was published in Changbi Magazine in 1967; he has since published several books of fiction and nonfiction.



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Table of Contents

Introduction

At the Stairs

Diary of a Vagabond

A Friend

A Season

Teacher and the Crown Prince

Three-story House


Related Subjects
/337-35-0(JP/RM/AV)

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