DescriptionIn his inimitable, recursive, meditative style that reads like a comedic zen koan but contains universes, Seven Samurai Swept Away in a River recounts Korean cult writer's Jung Young Moon's time spent at an artist's and writers residency in small-town Texas. In an attempt to understand what a "true Texan should know," the author reflects on his outsider experiences in this most unique of places, learning to two-step, musing on cowboy hats and cowboy churches, blending his observations with a meditative rumination on the history of Texas and the events that shaped the state, from the first settlers to Jack Ruby and Lee Harvey Oswald. All the while, the author is asking what a novel is and must be, while accompanied by a fictional cast of seven samurai who the author invents and carries with him, silent companions in a pantomime of existential theater. Jung blends fact with imagination, humor with reflection, and meaning with meaninglessness, as his meanderings become an absorbing, engaging, quintessential novel of ideas.
Deep Vellum Publishing
December 10, 2019
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About the Author
Jung Young Moon, born in 1965, is an award-winning Korean writer and translator. A graduate of Seoul National University with a degree in psychology, Jung is also an alum of the University of Iowa's International Writing Program. In 2012, he won the Han Moo-suk Literary Award, the Dong-in Literary Award, and the Daesan Literary Award for his novel A Contrived World. He has been a resident at the University of California at Berkeley's Center for Korean Study and the 100 West Corsicana Artists' & Writers' Residency in Texas, the latter of which inspired his novel Seven Samurai Swept Away in a River. Deep Vellum published his novel Vaseline Buddha in 2016, and will publish his linked novella trilogy Arriving in a Thick Fog in 2020.
"Who better than a Texas-based publisher of fiction in translation to champion an unusual work by a Korean writer, set in the Lone Star state? No-one, that's who." ― Tony Malone "Dispassionate, subversive, ambiguous, utterly cuckoo at times, Jung Young Moon has written a short masterwork of contemporary digression, a far distant cousin to Tristram Shandy (1759); but also a novel that acts as an antidote to our age of distraction because it takes real presence to follow the narrator's mind, a mind that is looking to challenge the notions of fiction -- to create fiction that one might hesitate to call fiction."―Splice Magazine "Impressive fluidity... Like a lucid dream." ― Foreword Reviews "An oddly entertaining stream of consciousness that flows out over the thirsty Lone Star State." ― Kirkus Reviews "There are many novels by Western authors sojourning in Asia. Stories that go the other way around are as rare as hens' teeth... Seven Samurai Swept Away in a River opens a window into a non-traditional narrative prose style." -- Asian Review of Books "It is a slim and beautiful volume. That's important for this particular book because this is... a piece of art. This is something that you want to hold dear and treasure." -- Read the World, Derek Maine Praise for Vaseline Buddha "Reading Vaseline Buddha feels like watching a magician who explains his trick as he performs it and yet still mesmerizes you with his sleight of hand. You simultaneously enter the dream and wake from it...This resistance underpinning the entire exercise makes Jung an heir to Polish novelist Witold Gombrowicz, who understood that writing is the documentation of a dance the writer does between form and chaos." ― Tyler Malone, Los Angeles Times "Ridiculous in the best way." -- D Magazine, Zac Crain