Jonathan Cape has acquired a novel by Korean writer Bae Suah, Unknown Nights and Days, translated by International Man Booker-winning translator Deborah Smith.
Ana Fletcher, senior editor at Jonathan Cape, acquired world English rights from Kelly Falconer at Asia Literary Agency to publish in 2020.
Unknown Nights and Days follows a night and a day in the life of 28-year-old Kim Ayami, who’s just been made redundant from her box-office job at Seoul’s audio theatre.
She spends the night walking in the city with her former boss, searching for a mutual friend who has disappeared, and the day looking after a visiting poet who turns out to be not what he seems. Their conversations take in art, love and the inaccessible country to the north. But in the sweltering heat of Seoul at the height of the summer, order gives way to chaos, and as the edges of reality start to fray, Ayami becomes our unwitting guide to its increasingly tangled threads.
Fletcher said: "We’re incredibly excited to bring this important voice in international fiction to Jonathan Cape. I can’t wait for readers in the UK to get to know Bae Suah’s work, and Unknown Nights and Days, with its magnetic protagonist, hypnotic atmosphere and unique depiction of Seoul, is the ideal entry point."
Smith translated Han Kang's The Vegetarian which became the first Korean-language novel to win the Man Booker International prize, in 2016.