Concerning education, Nietzsche asked, “How can the individual be integrated into the counterpoint of private and public culture; how can he both sing the melody and simultaneously make it the accompaniment?” At its core, this is the same question explored in Nonlocal.
Nonlocal is the story of Kohlhaas, Korean by birth, but raised in America—an outsider in both societies. His return to South Korean culture, both in Seoul and that which is preserved and managed at the M School for Overseas Koreans in Qingdao, China, is a jarring experience that leaves him searching for meaning deeper than national identity.
“I never met my mother. People say that she was beautiful and that I look nothing like her. Dad never says things like that. He tells me my beauty lights the world. He says that Mother’s beauty also used to light the world and that now half the world is in darkness.”
In these stories of unease, readers will find an ailing son trying to rewrite his father’s ignoble death, a Seoul taxi driver who succumbs to a devil’s plan, a park that offers one man redemption, and another, King George’s in Hong Kong, that haunts its one-time visitor. Throughout these tales a pan-Asian modernity has East and West entwined and restless for meaning in a vision seldom presented by popular culture. Here lies a hand on the sleeping violence of urban globalized living.