Seven Samurai Swept Away in a River (Deep Vellum)
A literary meandering into the mythology of place and what a novel can be, inspired by the author’s time spent at an artist residency in small-town Texas.
In 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 Jung Young Moon’s time spent at an artists’ and writers’ residency in small-town Texas. Jung embraces the rambling landscape of Texas, two-stepping, cowboy hats and cowboy churches, antique stores and their an- tique owners, and transmutes them into the even more expansive space of his mind. The author plucks at each surprisingly elucidating concept over pages of reflection – moving seamlessly from chili recipe etiquette (with beans or without?) to the origins of Texas itself – and muses on his outsider experiences in this most unique of places. All the while, the author is asking what a novel is and must be, while accompanied by an invented mental cast of seven samurai who the author 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, quintessential novel of ideas.
Praise for Seven Samurai Swept Away in a River:
“An heir to Witold Gombrowicz.” —Los Angeles Times
“One of South Korea’s more eccentric contemporary writers, Jung could almost be described as a cross between Beckett and Brautigan – his earlier writing was often extremely dark, but recently the balance has tipped towards lightness, of touch as much as of mood. It’s all part of an aesthetic which prizes vagueness, randomness, digression rather than progression.”—Deborah Smith, translator of The Vegetarian and The White Book
“A remarkable work for its eccentric modes of thought and how it looks beyond the basic novel form and asks important secondary questions of where fiction is left to go."—Review31
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, and 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, 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.