SINGAPORE - When news broke that South Korean novelist Kim Un-su had scored an English translation book deal with major publishing houses, he was among the last to hear. This was because he was in the Pacific on an eight-month-long deep-sea fishing trip.
The trip was research for his next novel, Big Eye, about Korean fishermen in the late 1950s after the Korean War. To support their families, he says, many of these men braved the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans in absurdly small boats without any skill or experience. More than 1,000 fishermen lost their lives at sea.