Monday, July 29, 2013

Paul Yoon

Paul Yoon's new novel is Snow Hunters.

From a Q & A at the publisher's website:

You were born in New York City in 1980. How did you prepare to recreate the setting in post-war Brazil that your Korean protagonist, Yohan, inhabits in Snow Hunters?

Colum McCann once said that he’s always interested in writing about “the other.” William Trevor said something similar when he was asked why he often writes in the point of view of a woman.

Brazil, not long after the Korean War, was my “other.” A time and a place that’s a galaxy away from my own life. I think I tend to write about things I know nothing about out of sheer curiosity. In this way, weirdly, I’m more interested in the process of writing than I am the end product. It’s far more rewarding.

For Snow Hunters, the start of that process began with reading about Brazil—educating myself on its general history, its major events—though I confess this was less a desire to be historically accurate but more a way to immerse myself into an environment, a culture, to learn how to create a certain kind of atmosphere. Also, visual aids are always essential to me. I studied a lot of photographs of Brazil port towns and villages.

In a 2009 interview with the New York Times, you indicated that you have long been interested in the literary form of the short novel. To what extent is the narrative of Snow Hunters representative of that form?

A few years ago I started reading a lot of short novels, one after another. The idea of experiencing a story of a certain length appealed to me. It became a passport of sorts, for me to discover books from all over the world, books that not many people I knew had ever read or talked about. I’m thinking of...[read on]
Visit Paul Yoon's Tumblr.

--Marshal Zeringue