Books: Lost in Korean-English translation, another winner from Celeste Ng, science fiction and more – Los Angeles Times

Hi, I’m books editor Carolyn Kellogg, and this week, our books newsletter has gotten a little bit interactive. Read on to play.

THE BIG STORY

Maybe you read Han Kang’s “The Vegetarian” — I know I did after it won the Man Booker International Prize. The novel is a spare, strange tale of a South Korean woman who stops eating meat, in an unspoken resistance to her husband, and wastes away. The book was an English-language bestseller and young translator Deborah Smith was lauded with praise. But a closer look at her translation caused a huge controversy in South Korea: Did it go too far? Charse Yun, a Korean American who is now a professor in Seoul, explains what happened in this fascinating essay that raises questions about the pitfalls of translating, which errors are important, and what we can expect when reading works in translation.

THE INTERACTIVE PART

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