Kim Tongin

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Translated by Grace Jung and introduced by Youngmin Kwon

Kim Tongin (1900-1951) is one of Korea’s earliest and most respected modern writers whose naturalist fiction brilliantly depicts Korean life during a period of profound social change. Namesake of the prestigious Dong-in Literary Award, Kim Tongin’s succinct writing style can still inspire readers and provide insight into early 20th century Korea over 60 years after his death. Finally, a volume of Kim Tongin’s short stories, most of them previously untranslated, is available to readers of English.

Sweet Potato
Subtitle: Collected Short Stories by Kim Tongin
Author: Kim Tongin
Translator: Grace Jung
Original language: Korean
Pages: 288
Publication date: 19th September 2017
ISBN (paperback): 9781999791209
ISBN (ebook): 9781999791216

Grace Jung is a writer, translator and filmmaker from New York. She is the author of Deli Ideology and producer of the feature documentary A-Town Boyz. She is currently a PhD candidate in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Los Angeles, California. She is a former Fulbright scholar.

Youngmin Kwon  is a professor of Korean literature at Seoul National University and former dean of the College of Humanities. He is currently a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He has written and edited numerous volumes of literary history, literary criticism and reference works on modern Korean literature, and is the current president of the International Association of Comparative Korean Studies.

Sweet Potato is an excellent collection, with no weak pieces and several excellent stories [...] combining humour, pathos, frame narratives and a host of chatty narrators.
— Tony Malone, Tony's Reading List
This new collection is undoubtedly an significant addition to the body of work of Korean literature in English
— Peter Gordon, Asian Review of Books
A great intro to one of the best regarded writers from Korea [...] one of the first true modern writers from that country.
— Stu Allen, Winstonsdad's Blog


  • Introduction

  • Note on the Translation

  1. The Life in One's Hands

  2. Boat Song: A Brother's Lament

  3. Flogging

  4. Barely Opened Its Eyes

  5. Sweet Potato

  6. Fire Sonata

  7. Like Father, Like Son

  8. Red Mountain

  9. Letter and Photograph

  10. Notes on Darkness and Loss

  11. The Mad Painter

  12. The Old Taet'angji Lady

  13. Mother Bear

  14. The Traitor

  • Note on the Illustration