Meet David Hoon Kim, Author of “Paris Is a Party, Paris Is a Ghost” (9/22/21)

Wednesday, September 22, 2021
7pm PST / 8pm MST / 9pm CST / 10pm EST
Alliance Française de Pasadena
In English

David Hoon Kim was born in Korea, moved to the United States when he was eight years old, and later lived in France. He writes in English and French, and his short stories and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, and numerous French language publications in France and Québec. His debut novel, “Paris Is A Party, Paris Is A Ghost,” was just published by MacMillan/Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

What is the relationship between language and culture? Between language and identity? Between language and ethnicity? These are some of the themes David Hoon Kim has explored in his writing, including in his recent essay, “When I Lived in French,” published on July 12, 2021, by The New York Review of Books. In an interview published in 2007, he said:

“I’ve always been obsessed by languages, perhaps because I don’t really have one that I can claim wholly as my own. It might have something to do with the fact that, having lived in Korea until I was eight, and then in the United States and France, I don’t really have a native language—at least, not the way most people define a native language. I feel at home in more than one language, but never quite completely home in any. . . . [R]ather than adhere to a nationality or seek affiliation with a native language, I see myself as an inhabitant of the French language, a denizen of the Korean language, and a citizen of the English language. For me, the bond between language and identity is at once unavoidable, tenuous, and paradoxical.”

His debut novel, “Paris Is A Party, Paris Is A Ghost,” focuses on a French-speaking Danish ex-pat in Paris named Henrik whose Japanese biological parents sent him as an infant to Denmark to be adopted. He is studying French and English translation at the Sorbonne. He is quintessentially Danish but because of his looks is treated differently. In “Paris Is A Party, Paris Is A Ghost,” David Hoon Kim explores themes of language, identity, loneliness, and meaning through a non-chronological and time-shifting interrelated series of Henrik’s encounters and relationships. As one reviewer wrote, “Those willing to immerse themselves in its mysterious and forlorn landscapes will be amply rewarded by this startingly original debut.” (David Battersby, Financial Times, July 16, 2021.)

“Paris Is A Party, Paris Is A Ghost” is available from Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena (online at vromansbookstore.com) and from all the usual online book retailers.

This event is in English and costs $10 (discount for AF Pasadena members.) Please click here to register.