Ahn Junghyo (born 1941) is a South Korean novelist and literary translator.
Ahn was born in Seoul. He earned his undergraduate degree in English literature from Sogang University. Upon graduation, he began a career in journalism, working for the Korea Herald and later the Korea Times. He was editorial director for the Korean division of Encyclopædia Britannica from 1971 to 1974. In 1975, Ahn's translation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude was serialized in the monthly Literature and Thought. From that time until the late 1980s, he translated approximately 150 foreign works into Korean.
Ahn made his debut as a novelist in 1983 with Jeonjaenggwa dosi (전쟁과 도시 Of War and the Metropolis), inspired by his service in the Vietnam War. The novel was first serialized in Literature and Practice. Ahn personally translated the novel into English and it appeared in the US under the title White Badge. In 1992 it was made into a film, shot on location in Vietnam. The book was then reissued in Korea as Hayan jeonjaeng (하얀 전쟁 White War) in 1993. Ahn's major published works include Eunmaneun oji anneunda (은마는 오지 않는다 Silver Stallion), Mineul (미늘 Mineul), and Heolliudeu kideuui saengae (헐리우드 키드의 생애 The Life and Death of the Hollywood Kid). He is the recipient of the Kim Yu-jeong Literary Award for the novella Akbujeon (악부전 Story of a Bad Father).
Although Ahn's worldview is reflected in the depressive undertone characterizing his works, it does not overpower his fundamental faith in human worth nor undermine his ceaseless inquiry into the nature existence that renders his works relevant and meaningful beyond the particular context of Korean history. Based on meticulous observations and immaculate depiction of the real world, his works can be dry at times, but still retain a wealth of stories and possibilities for many discoveries.
Silver Stallion offers an intimate, mournful perspective on the Korean War, as the harmony of a tiny village is destroyed by the arrival of friendly foreign troops. In 1950, the hamlet of Kumsan is much the same as it was a century earlier; a rich elder serves as the arbiter of propriety, children play together in gangs, men farm and women run the households. But when air raids begin and Western soldiers set up camp, Kumsan's delicate structure collapses. The author keeps his scale small but faultlessly detailed, letting events unfold primarily through the eyes of Mansik, a young boy whose mother is raped by soldiers and then shunned by the other villagers; eventually, she seeks work in a prostitute shantytown to feed her children.
Heolliudeu kideuui saengae stars an eccentric character named Lim Byeong-seok, a film buff nicknamed "the Hollywood kid" by his childhood friends. Given the dark milieu of the period, Lim's obsession only seems natural, as going to the cinema offers a rare escape from the impoverished and hopeless conditions of life. Years later, however, the Hollywood kid is still addicted to the fantastic visions of alternate reality offered by the movies. His childhood friend, now a film director, discovers Lim living in abject poverty, spending his days reliving scenes from movies he has seen over the years.