Charles Montgomery on Yi Kwang-su's Novel The Soil
Professor Charles Montgomery (Dongguk University) -- who has a professional interest in Korean literature and has been officially recognized for this interest -- offers a review of Yi Kwang-su's novel The Soil on his blog, Korean Literature in Translation, from which I excerpt:
The Soil (흙) is also strange artifact from a strange author. The first thing a reader notices is that this book is big -- some 510 pages big, and that can be daunting. On the other hand, since it was originally published in serial form (this is how much of Korean fiction was published prior to the 1960s), it is broken up into convenient little chunks, with some mini-chapters barely clocking in at over a page, so it certainly can be read in little chunks. The Soil might not be the book that a potential reader of Korean fiction would start with, but it does have its charms and once a reader gets past the large cast of characters and plots, which are introduced at a lickety-split rate as the book opens, the story begins to flesh out.Charles then gets into some plot-spoilers, so I'll stop there and merely quote his words on the quality of the translation:
The translation, by the husband and wife team of Hwang Sun-Ae and Horace Jeffery Hodges, is quite good. There is an occasional lapse into passive constructions, but for the most part the translated text flows in perfect accord with the story, and makes reading a pleasure.As I told him in a comment:
Thanks for the kind words (and I'll keep an eagle eye out for passives from now on).Advice on writing is always useful since it leads a writer to reconsider and remain alert . . .
Labels: Korean Literature