While Korean American literature has long tangentially engaged the subject of Korea, there has been a recent upsurge of Korean American literature that are set heavily, if not entirely, in South Korea.
This talk analyzes one such novel, Yoojin Grace Wuertz’s "Everything Belongs to Us" (2017), to explore Wuertz’s critique of South Korea and America’s entanglement through the cold war era.
Though written in English for the American reader, this text unapologetically centralizes South Korea and delves into South Korean social problems. Also present, however, are scattered traces of America: in the form of disposable American things, disappearing American people, and decaying American morality. These traces together mark America as simultaneously indelible and peripheral in the making of modern Korea.
My textual reading illustrates how Korean American writers such as Wuertz extend the contours of Korea, America, and transnational aesthetics
"Everything Belongs to Us" is available online or may be placed on hold at picked at your local Broward County Library.
Na-Rae Kim is an Assistant Professor in Residence and the Associate Director of the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut-Storrs. She received her Ph.D. in English from the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities. She specializes in Asian American literature and culture, transnational Korean literature, history and theory of the novel, and Critical Asian studies. Her book project, entitled “Re-Turning Korea: Navigating Homelands in Korean American Literature,” explores 21-Century Korean American literary imaginations of South and North Korea.
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