Love in the Big City
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Sang Young Park / 박상영 / Writer / 1988-00-00
Born in Daegu, he graduated from Sungkyunkwan University where he earned his bachelor’s degrees in French Literature and Media Communications. He pursued graduate studies in Creative Writing at Dongguk University. The recipient of 2016 Munhakdongne Rising Writer Award for his novel, “Searching for Paris Hilton”, his published works include The Tears of an Unknown Artist, or Zaytun and How to Love in a Metropolis. Park also received the 9th and 10th Young Writer’s Award.
Perhaps the best of the COVID-pandemic-inspired novels so far, Our Country Friends plays with the social and cultural woes of early lockdown. A group of friends and colleagues decamp for an estate in upstate New York, each packing their own specific blend of neurosis and desire for self-destruction; as the pandemic wanes on, their collective plights become more and more complicated, all to the reader's delight. (Nov. 2)
The New York Times
Here is my favorite moment from this novel about love: While lying in bed beside Gyu-ho, the great love of his life, the narrator, Young — a cynical writer who would never use the phrase “great love of his life” — asks his partner why he continued their sexual relationship after he found out about Young’s H.I.V. infection (which he playfully nicknames Kylie, as in Minogue).
Explorations of class, race, and sexuality play into many of this fall’s notable fiction debuts, including a novel about a young Black woman working in financial services, a South Korean gay romance, and more. Nawaaz Ahmed Supersized and Fully Formed In 1994, Nawaaz Ahmed left India for a graduate program in computer science at Cornell. “I don’t think in India you go around saying, ‘I want to be a writer,’ ” he says from his home in Brooklyn. Like his debut, Radiant Fugitives (Counterpoint, Aug.), which PW called “dazzling” in a starred review, the path to writing a novel was long and windy, and informed by his political consciousness as a gay Muslim immigrant. Ahmed took a job in the Bay Area with Inktomi in 2000, touted at the time as the next Microsoft, he says. Two years later its stock plummeted from a peak of $241 to a quarter a share, and the company was sold to Yahoo. By 2007 he’d become involved with book clubs and writing groups mainly comprising other South Asians and went part-time at Yahoo to focus on his writing. In 2009 he left for the University of Michigan, expecting to finish a book by the time his MFA scholarship support ran out. “But it took 10 years,” he adds, laughing.
Na popmuziek, games en films is nu ook literatuur uit Zuid-Korea wereldwijd in opmars. Deze K-lit geeft een aardig inkijkje in de moraal van het land, weet vertaler Mattho Mandersloot. ‘Het is daar niet de bedoeling dat je een scharrel meeneemt naar je ouders.’ Sander Becker23 november 2021, 13:05 De K-wave overspoelt de wereld, ook met boeken. Zuid-Korea timmert cultureel enorm aan de weg. Het land verovert de wereld met popmuziek, games, films, series en zelfs romans. De successen stapelen zich op: van de maffe raphit Gangnam Style tot aan de met vier Oscars bekroonde film Parasite, en van de horrorkomedie Squid Game tot aan kimchi, de gefermenteerde kool die oprukt op menukaarten. Deze Korean Wave of K-wave is bewust door de Zuid-Koreaanse regering op gang gebracht, al in de jaren negentig. Het land probeerde destijds uit een economische crisis te klauteren. Waarom gaan we geen cultuur exporteren, was toen het idee. Dan verwerf je in het buitenland bekendheid en soft power, waardoor ook mobieltjes en beeldschermen van Zuid-Koreaanse multinationals als Samsung en LG meer aftrek vinden. Het werkt. Neem alleen al de populaire boyband BTS. Hun internationale discohit Dynamite leverde het land vorig jaar 1,2 miljard euro aan economische activiteit op, plus 8000 nieuwe banen, aldus een schatting van de overheid.