• Lemon cover
    In English,  Mystery

    Lemon by Kwon Yeo-sun

    Lemon is an extremely short mystery novel by Korean writer Kwon Yeo-sun and translated by Janet Hong. It takes place over a number of years and jumps between three different narrators – all dealing with the death of the victim, Hae-on, in their own unique ways. However, as you move from one narrator to the next, it is clear that this isn’t a simple mystery novel at all. Instead, Kwon has woven together a story of trauma and healing. All of this is done under the guise of being a simple mystery story. Though short, the story packs a punch not easily forgotten. It does bear warning though, it is…

  • 世界を超えて私はあなたに会いに行く cover
    In Japanese,  Science Fiction

    世界を超えて私はあなたに会いに行く by Lee Kkoch-Nim

    Originally written in Korean by Lee Kkoch-Nim and translated into Japanese by Akiko Yashima, 世界を超えて私はあなたに会いに行く (known in English as I Will Cross Time for You), is a heartwarming, yet heartbreaking story about two young women, both named Eunyu, who are writing letters to each other across time. The story is told exclusively through the letters they write to each other, with one Eunyu writing from 2016 and the other writing starting in 1982. Through these letters, we learn a lot about each of the women. We learn about their deepest fears and their biggest dreams. There is turmoil for both and a ton of misunderstandings, but also a lot of…

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  • The Color of the Sky is the Shape of the Heart cover
    General Fiction,  In English

    The Color of the Sky is the Shape of the Heart by Chesil

    The Color of the Sky is the Shape of the Heart by Chesil and translated by Takami Nieda seems like a coming-of-age story. It some ways it is. However, more dominantly, it is a story about the anger and trauma of a young Zainichi Korean girl named Ginny Park. The term “Zainichi Korean” refers to the Koreans and their descendants who originally came to Japan before 1945. Their history is wrought with discrimination and hardships – many of which continue to this day. This is important to note when reading this book. Ginny’s hardships and the trauma she faces are not unique. Rather, hers is a story of many who…

  • Heaven Official's Blessing cover
    Fantasy,  In English

    Heaven Official’s Blessing Vol. 1 by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu

    Heaven Official’s Blessing by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu (MXTX) comes long awaited by fans looking forward to an official translation. Translated from Mandarin and edited by Suika and Pengie, Heaven Official’s Blessing was originally published online before subsequently being released in print. Now in print in English, this dramatic and heartbreaking story has a lot to share with readers. It is a fantastical story revolving around the gods, ghosts, and the Mortal Realm that their existence depends on. While supernatural in nature, Heaven Official’s Blessing is also very much so about the human condition – including the more negative aspects of life. Be prepared for death and sorrow and for…

  • Almonds cover
    In English,  Literary Fiction

    Almond by Won-pyung Sohn

    The debut novel of Korean author Won-pyung Sohn and translated by Sandy Joosun Lee, Almond it is a story about monsters. What is a monster and who gets to decide when someone is a one? In a world where monsters roam, things are not as simple as they appear – even the idea of the monster itself. These issues are at the core of Almond and Sohn has dealt with them beautifully. Through Lee’s translation, the author’s words are preserved with clarity and precision and all events in the book are described with perfect balance. However talking about monsters comes at a price. Almond contains its fair share of gore…

  • The Little House cover
    Historical Fiction,  In English

    The Little House by Kyoko Nakajima

    Stories that take place during Japan’s peak imperial era are often received critically – and rightfully so. However, The Little House by Kyoko Nakajima, and translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori, is a different kind of book. The story largely takes place through the protagonist’s memoirs of times in the early Showa Era (1926-89) – namely before, during, and a bit after the war. Yet Nakajima approaches the topic with an immense amount of care. The war is neither front and center or ignored. The novel’s memoir style is very fitting for this approach. The world of The Little House is very believable in how it approaches the period as a…

  • The Miracles of the Namiya General Store cover
    In English,  Mystery

    The Miracles of the Namiya General Store by Keigo Higashino

    The Miracles of the Namiya General Store is a special book. Keigo Higashino is a prolific author, but most of his works aren’t published in English. Of the books that are most are mysteries. However, The Miracles of the Namiya General Store is something else entirely. Published by Yen On and translated by Sam Bett, this book is of a genre that is hard to place. It is a coming-of-age/mystery/fantasy kind of situation. One could even argue for magical realism. The variety of themes and wide genre is exactly what makes the book compelling for many types of readers. The Miracles of the Namiya General Store covers a lot of…