Escape

Rupert Winchester

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Bury What We Cannot Keep
Kirstin Chen
Little A: 2018
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It has been suggested that the recent success of fiction from Korea in the West can be attributed to the decision of the organisers of the 2014 London Book Fair to focus on that country.

If so, it certainly worked, and many readers around the world have come to appreciate the work of poet Ko Un, short-story writer Krys Lee and novelists like Chang-rae Lee and Han Kang. Indeed, sales of Korean books in the United Kingdom increased from a meagre eighty-eight copies in 2001 to 10,191 in 2015: enough to gladden the heart of any publisher.

So, like all sensible publishers, they looked for a bandwagon, and may have decided that their focus should alight on Singaporean literature, if the slew of new fiction from that city-state which is currently piled on my desk is any measure. Certainly the publishers involved are weighty and prestigious enough to make a success of writers they want to push.

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