BAE SUAH with DEBORAH SMITH
This evening brings two remarkable individuals to Seattle and Elliott Bay - South Korean novelist Bae Suah, over from her home in Seoul, and acclaimed translator/publisher Deborah Smith, over from the UK. They’re here for Bae Suah’s novel, A Greater Music (Open Letter), just published here in the U.S., with another novel to come, Recitation, from Deep Vellum in a few months. These two and one other that’s been translated stand against over a dozen books Bae Suah has written, receiving numerous prizes along the way. She is also a translator of German-language writers into Korean - W.G. Sebald, Jenny Erpenback, and Franz Kafka among those she’s done. Apt that may be, as A Greater Music, first published over a decade ago, is set in Berlin, the narrative that of a young Korean woman who recounts an off/on relationship with a boyfriend, and an intense relationship with a woman who would teach her German. The writing is cast as reflections, not linear, but reflective of serious rumination. “With concise, evocative prose, Bae merges the mundane with the strange in a way that leaves the reader fulfilled yet bewildered, pondering how exactly the author managed to pull this all off.” — Korean Literature Now. With Deborah Smith here, we have the translator of two of Bae Suah’s works; two novels by Han Kang, the MAN Booker International Prize-winning The Vegetarian and the forthcoming Human Acts. She has also launched her own press in the UK, Tilted Axis, to bring more translated work into English. A strong night this should be.