Jung Young Moon, "Seven Samurai Swept Away in a River"
November 4, 2019, 7:00 PM
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’s Jung Young Moon’s time spent at an artist’s and writers residency in small-town Texas. In an attempt to understand what a “true Texan should know,” the author reflects on his outsider experiences in this most unique of places, learning to two-step, musing on cowboy hats and cowboy churches, blending his observations with a meditative rumination on the history of Texas and the events that shaped the state, from the first settlers to Jack Ruby and Lee Harvey Oswald. All the while, the author is asking what a novel is and must be, while accompanied by a fictional cast of seven samurai who the author invents and 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, engaging, quintessential novel of ideas.
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. In 2012, he won the Han Moo-suk Literary Award, the Dong-in Literary Award, and the Daesan Literary Award for his novel A Contrived World. He 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.