Kim ’03 Translates Best-Selling Korean Novel about Missing Mother

Chi-Young Kim '03

Chi-Young Kim ’03 has translated the international best-selling Korean novel, Please Look After Mom (Knopf), which recounts the story of a family’s search for their mother, who disappears one afternoon amid the crowds of the Seoul Station subway. The novel is told from the points of view of four of the family members.

In a review of the novel in The New York Times, Mythili G. Rao writes: “Shin’s prose, intimate and hauntingly spare in this translation by Chi-Young Kim, moves from first to second and third person, and powerfully conveys grief’s bewildering immediacy.”

The Korea Times wrote that Please Look After Mom “would not have made a sensational international debut without professional translator Kim Chi-young. The 30-year-old Korean-American suspended her law practice to devote herself to translating Korean literature.”

The newspaper also profiled Kim as a translator following in her mother’s footsteps. Kim comments about her work: “It makes me feel good to help those who don’t speak Korean learn more about Korean literature, and what many Koreans love and cherish.”

Based in Los Angeles, Kim is the recipient of the Daesan Foundation Translation Grant in 2005 and 2008, and the 34th Modern Korean Literature Translation Award in 2003. Her other translations include Kyung Ran Jo’s Tongue (Bloomsbury, 2009), Young-ha Kim’s Your Republic Is Calling You (Mariner Books, 2010) and I Have the Right to Destroy Myself (Harvest Books, 2007), and Lee Dong-ha’s Toy City (Koryo Press, 2007)..

David Low

David Low '76 writes about arts and culture for the Wesleyan magazine and Wesleyan Connection. He is associate director of publications in the Office of University Communications. He is also a published fiction writer. E-mail: