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South Korea Book Exports

Soon-won Lee's The Whale Who Returned to the Sea Sold to Germany

 

2017.9.11

 

Some foreign readers may think of young authors who have just arrived on the scene when they hear "Korean novelists". That may change as the work of Soon-won Lee, a veteran novelist who has consistently published pure and lyrical novels, is now being actively introduced abroad. Many of his work have didactic messages that deal with elements like nature or growth. German readers can soon expect to enjoy his work, for which Lee has received many literary prizes at home.

 

 

 

Cover art for the Korean language version of The Whale Who Returned to the Sea
ⓒ BookGoodCome

 

South Korean novelist Soon-won Lee's fable story, The Whale Who Returned to the Sea was recently sold into Germany. The novel, which was first published in South Korea in 2012, tells a story of dreams and hope as readers can deduce from the sub-title, 'How dreams come true'.

 

Atop a lofty mountain sits a large boulder in the shape of a whale. The motif of the novel came from an actual boulder that looked like a whale in Lee's hometown village. The writer took this element, combined it with his imagination and formed a story of how the boulder has always harbored a wish to go to the sea and after much hope, the dream comes true. It is a book that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike and tells the inspiring message that anyone can make their aspirations into reality if they have diligently work hard and not give up, even in difficult times.

 

The book was the recipient for several literary prizes including the Dong-in Literary Prize and the Hyundae Literary Prize. It was also selected as a recommended book for underage students by KPIPA. Hopes are high The Whale Who Returned to the Sea will be translated into other languages and exported to other countries in addition to Germany. Before its entry into Germany, the book was translated and made available in Vietnam.

 

Cover art for the Korean language versions of Tree and The Cow Who Resembled the White Star
 ⓒ Nol, Danbi

 

Aside from The Whale Who Returned to the Sea, Lee has other didactic novels that resemble fable stories. They are Tree and The Cow Who Resembled the White Star. Tree is a novel for teens that has the sub-title 'A century-old friend' and tells the story of friendship between a young man and a chestnut tree he planted, which he takes care of his whole life. Lee's unique writing form, which tends to be simple but friendly, shines in this novel. The laws and wisdom of nature can be learned from the story a 100-year-old grandfather tree tells his grandson tree in the book. It carries a warm message that everyone will be able to relate to, regardless of age.

 

Lee's other novel, The Cow Who Resembled the White Star seriously delves into the values we lose track of in our lives. In the book, a young calf finds itself walking into an empty stable in a mountain village. Then follows the history of 12 generations of cattle which melds into the story of the family that lives in the adjacent house, making for a touching tale. Lee's work is reaching out to the world and readers can expect to be comforted by Lee's style that involves nature and healing.

 

 


Written by Joseph Lee, President of KL Management

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Joseph Lee, President of KL Management

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