- Jeongbin Kim
- ISBN: 978-0-9574207-6-2
- Publication date: August 2013
- To be available in paperback and e-book formats
Kim, Jeongbin’s most recent novel, Six Months with Buddha (Soseolgyong, as it is pronounced in Korean) is the fruition of his life-long study and practice of Buddhism.
It tells the story of a young Indian couple, Raja and Sirima, and their journey to become Buddha’s followers. Written in a simple and engaging style, the book embeds the philosophy and principles of Buddhism into fiction.
In writing Six Months with Buddha, Kim was inspired by famous Christian literature masterpieces such as Dante’s The Divine Comedy and Goethe’s Faust. More than just a simple recollection of Buddhist principles or a practical guide, Six Months with Buddha is designed to mark the start of a new breed of Buddhist fiction that follows in the footsteps of these greats.
Taebaek Sanmaek: Volume 1 – A Dawn without Sunrise
- Jung Rae Jo
- ISBN: 978-0-9574207-3-1 | 978-0-9574207-4-8
- Publication date: 2013
- To be available in paperback and e-book formats
The highly-acclaimed Taebaek Sanmaek volumes have sold seven million copies in South Korea alone. The novel has since been translated into Japanese, French and Chinese and is now coming to an English-speaking audience for the first time. Based on painstaking historical research, it is set in South Korea in the three years after its liberation from Japanese rule in 1945. During that time, Korean society became divided and different political and ideological groups clashed in their struggle to obtain power over Korea’s future.
In the first volume of the novel, the story unfolds in a small village called Beolgyo in the southern part of the Korean peninsula, and is representative of the conflict, confusion and turbulence that affected everyone in Korea at that time.
After the 1945 liberation, a communist state was being built in the north of the Korean peninsula under the influence of the Soviet Union and China. Meanwhile, in the south, a capitalist society was fostered by the United States. In October 1948, South Korea’s government troops forced out the Left-wing group that had seized control of the village of Beolgyo in the south.
Inspired by communist ideology, the pro-Left forces had been killing many wealthy villagers and those who supported the colonial government during the Japanese occupation. The Left-wing leaders – Sang Jin Yeom, Dae Ji Ha, Jang Min Ahn, Ha Seop Jeong – had flee to the Taebaek Mountains to escape retribution. But, under order from his leaders, Ha Seop Jeong secretly returns. He stays in the house on the village outskirts belonging to a shaman. There, he meets So Hwa, the shaman’s daughter, and falls in love.
Meanwhile, the division in the village’s society deepens, with nightmarish consequences. Sang Gu Yeom, a younger brother of the Left-wing leader Sang Jin Yeom, is the head of the far-Right political group. In the village, he forms an organisation to fight the Left-wingers. His methods of destroying communists and their potential supporters – many of them members of his own family – are shockingly brutal and violent. In one instance, Sang Gu Yeom and his henchmen destroy the house of a partisan and rape his wife.
In his struggle to extinguish communism in the village, Sang Gu Yeom is supported by the South Korea’s government military and police. But it is not only those with strong political passions who fall victims to the conflict, but those attempting to stay neutral, too. Among them is Beomu Kim, a son of a respected and influential village elder, who identifies himself as a nationalist. Appalled at what villagers will do in the name of political ideology, Beomu Kim tries to resolve the situation by helping government official Ikseung Choi, who has been sent to Beolgyo to investigate the violence. His efforts are to prove fruitless. Choi has his own agenda and Beomu Kim is accused of being a Red spy and imprisoned.
Taebaek Sanmaek is regarded as one of the most influential novels in South Korea today. It embodies the sorrow and pain the Korean nation had to undergo as a result of the ideological opposition within the society. Amid the politics is the personal – the book examines how even as confusion and chaos prevail, love can survive and how those who lived through such terrible events learnt to overcome their suffering.
Jo Jung Rae’s evocative language entices the reader into the novel, as we relive characters’ feelings, emotions, doubts and anger as well as enjoy their brief moments of happiness.
Taebaek Sanmaek explains how Korea became a divided nation – and why the communist promise was such a temptation for many at that time. As Korea comes increasingly under the international spotlight, this book holds messages and lessons today, as well as providing an unflinching examination of how ideology and politics can drive families, friends and the very fabric of society itself apart.
- David Jeon
- ISBN: 978-0-9574207-1-7 | 978-0-9574207-0-0 | 978-0-9574207-2-4
- Publication date: 1 October 2012
- Paperback: £6.99
- e-Book available at Amazon.com
What would you do to achieve your life’s ambition? Give up sleep? Give up women? Make a deal with God? Hungry for success at medical school, David does just this, but it is a pact that will drive him to the brink of madness. This semi-autobiographical novel is a fascinating insight into the pressures of growing up in contemporary Korea. Find out more about the book and the author inside.