Book Recommendations

East Asian Novels  

 

We've selected four beautiful novels from Vietnam, China, Japan, and Korea. Enjoy these exquisite, thought-provoking translations!

 


 

Vietnam:


Paradise of the Blind

by Duong Thu Huong; translated by Phan Huy Duong and Nina McPherson


This was the first novel from Vietnam ever published in the United States and gave American readers authentic insight into the poverty and political corruption that characterized Vietnam under the communist government from the 1950s to the 1980s. The novel was short-listed for the Prix Fémina Étranger in 1992, and translations of it made Duong an internationally famous writer. 

 

 

 

China:


The Song of Everlasting Sorrow

by Wang Anyi; translated by Michael Berry and Susan Chan Egan

 

"A beautifully constructed cyclical narrative... the manner in which character types and events recur against the city's shifting backdrop is impossible to forget." -- Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)   "Michael Berry and Susan Chan Egan's graceful translation . . . helps us understand why Wang Anyi is one of the most critically acclaimed writers in the Chinese-speaking world." — Francine Prose 

 

 

 

Japan:


Rouse Up O Young Men of the New Age!

by Kenzaburo Oe; translated by John Nathan

 

Nearly all of Nobel Laureate Kensaburo Oe's work is informed by his relationship with his brain-damaged son and in this book he couples that experience with his reading of William Blake's visionary poetry to create a thought-provoking meditation on the nature of human connection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Korea:


Three Generations

by Yom Sang-seop; translated by Yu Young-nan

 

Another classic work, this time from Korea. Originally published in 1931 in serial form is the story of a family in Seoul in the 1930s. It provides insight into the traditional Korean family structure and explores the impact of the Japanese occupation. The harshness of Japanese rule is refracted through the lens of the novel's beautifully drawn familial relationships—and tensions. 

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