Korean Novel – 18 English Korean Novel Worth To Read!

korean novel

Are you looking for a Korean novel with an English translation to read this year? In addition to beauty and Korean dramas, Korea is well known for its amazing novel story. This time, I will share the best Korean novel with English translation in this article to add to your reading list this year. Let’s dig in!

Table of Contents

Korean Novel

Korean novel is famous for its courage in exploring social and political issues that speaks volume to common people like you and me. Here are some top korean novel to read this year.

1. Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982

Kim Ji Young, Born 1982 is written by Cho Nam Joo. Her novel is so famous and ended up adapted for a Korean movie.

This novel got colossal attention and controversy as it documents the sexist and oppressive atmosphere that many Korean women experience.

2. The Calligrapher’s Daughter by Eugenia Kim

The Calligrapher’s Daughter sets during the Japanese occupation of South Korea. This Novel is a story of Najin’s life, a calligrapher’s daughter who desires more and seeks more than just the traditional everyday life that her father sets for her.

3. Please Look After Mom by Kyung-sook Shin

Please look after my mom explores the aftermath of a mother’s disappearance in Seoul. Now all her family members do some self-introspection and are filled with guilt and regret.

4. The Hole by Hye-young Pyun

The Hole is a psychological horror novel about a man who loses his ability to move due to a terrible accident that also causes him to lose his wife. Now he lives with his in-laws, that mistreat him and forbid his friends to visit.

5. Suki Kim, The Interpreter

The interpreter tells a story about Suzy Park, a 29-year-old Korean American interpreter who works for New York City courts. One day she makes a discovery about her family’s death case.

Five years prior, her parents were brutally murdered in a store robbery. Now she journeys to reveal the mystery of her parent’s death.

6. b, Book, and Me by Kim Sagwa

B, Book and Me tell a story of two best friends named b and Rang. Their parents are absent, and their teachers avert their eyes when they walk by. Everyone else in town acts like they live in Seoul, even though they obviously don’t.

One day, Rang unintentionally tells the whole class about b’s dying sister and how her family is poor. Now, each of them finds herself desperately alone.

7. The Vegetarian by Han Kang

The Vegetarian tells the story of a woman who decides to become a vegetarian after having a nightmare of animal slaughter.

This sudden transformation shocked her family, who disagreed and forced her to eat meat. The more she committed to her new lifestyle, the more society and her own family distanced from her.

8. City of Ash and Red by Hye-young Pyun

City of Ash and Red tells the story of an exterminator sent by company to do high level extermination job in Country C, nameless dystopian country filled by trash and contagious disease.

9. Endless Blue Sky by Lee Hyoseok

Endless Blue Sky set in 1940s colonial Korea and Japanese-occupied Manchuria. It tells the love story between Korean writer Ilma and Russian dancer Nadia.

The thrilling melodrama novels set in glamorous locations that would shortly be tragically war zones.

10. At Dusk by Hwang Sok-yong

At Dusk tells the story of someone born in poverty turn himself around and became the director of a large architectural firm. However, when his company is investigated for corruption, he’s forced to reconsider his role.

11. The White Book by Han Kang

The White Book tells a fictional journey inspired by an older sister who died within few hours in her mother’s arm. The narrator grapples with the tragedy that has haunted her family for years.

This novel is basically a letter from Kang to her sister, offers powerful philosophy and personal development of the human spirit to graft new life up from the ashes.

12. The Dog Who Dared To Dream by Sun Mi Hwang

korean novel

The Dog Who Dared To Dream tells a story of a dog who was born with a unique appearance. Unfortunately, her striking looks cause her to be disliked even by her mother.

Most of the time, she spends time sunbathing in her owner’s yard and daydreaming the time she can have more freedom and happiness. This novel shows a heartwarming and authentic relationship between a pet and a human.

13. Human Acts by Han Kang

This novel is set during the Gwangju Uprising in South Korea in 1980. It explores the aftermath of the violent government crackdown on student protesters.

14. Untold Night And Day By Bae Su Ah

Untold Night And Day tells a story of a 28-year-old woman who dreams of being an actress, yet currently, she just works in a theatre that is about to close.

As she finishes her last shift at work, the theatre closes, and she sets out with her former boss to search for a missing elderly friend.

Her journey takes her through the streets of Seoul, where she encounters a series of strange and surreal events.

15. The Court Dancer by Kyung-sook Shin

This historical novel is set in the late 19th century and tells the story of a Korean court dancer who falls in love with a French diplomat.

16. The Investigation by Jung-Myung Lee

The investigation is a historical novel sets in a Korean prison camp during World War II, where prisoners band together to investigate a murder.

17. The Plotters by Un-su Kim

The Plotters by Un-su Kim is a fantastical crime novel in an alternate Seoul. This thriller follows a group of assassins in Seoul who work for a shadow organization that plots murders.

18. The Good Son by You-Jeong Jeong

korean novel

This thriller follows a young man who becomes the prime suspect in a murder investigation after his mother is found dead.

Sum Up

Korean novel is filled with actual story and mixed with issues that we all face daily. These novels makes us think deeper about our society and issues we might ignore in our community.

These are the best Korean novels that I can share with you; what do you think about these Korean novels? Have you read one of them? Let us know in the comments section below!

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korean novel
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