A Greater Music
by Bae Suah
October 11, 2016
novel | pb | 128 pgs
5.5" x 8.5"
“Bae Suah offers the chance to unknow—to see the everyday afresh and be defamiliarized with what we believe we know—which is no small offering.”
—Music & Literature
From the author nominated for the Best Translated Book Award and the PEN Translation Prize
Near the beginning of A Greater Music, the narrator, a young Korean writer, falls into an icy river in the Berlin suburbs, where she’s been house-sitting for her on-off boyfriend Joachim. This sets into motion a series of memories that move between the hazily defined present and the period three years ago when she first lived in Berlin. Throughout, the narrator’s relationship with Joachim, a rough-and-ready metalworker, is contrasted with her friendship with M, an ultra-refined music-loving German teacher who was once her lover.
A novel of memories and wandering, A Greater Music blends riffs on music, language, and literature with a gut-punch of an emotional ending, establishing Bae Suah as one of the most exciting novelists working today. (Read an Excerpt)
Translated from the Korean by Deborah Smith
About the Author: Bae Suah, one of the most highly acclaimed contemporary Korean authors, has published more than a dozen works and won several prestigious awards. She has also translated several books from the German, including works by W. G. Sebald, Franz Kafka, and Jenny Erpenbeck. Her first book to appear in English, Nowhere to be Found, was longlisted for a PEN Translation Prize and the Best Translated Book Award.
About the Translator: Deborah Smith has translated two other books by Bae Suah (Recitation and A Greater Music), and won the Man Booker International Prize for her translation of Han Kang's The Vegetarian. She is the founder of Tilted Axis Press.
“With concise, evocative prose, Bae merges the mundane with the strange in a way that leaves the reader fulfilled yet bewildered, pondering how exactly the author managed to pull this all off.”
—Korean Literature Now