“Cho Kuk’s Time” is a memoir by the former justice minister who is on trial after being accused of abuse of power and other charges.
According to the publisher, the author tells his side of the story about what happened after he was hand-picked by President Moon Jae-in to serve as justice minister in August 2019. The book also offers Cho’s account of how he became a member of Moon’s inner circle and was appointed first to serve as senior presidential secretary for civil affairs before being nominated for justice minister. The book also discusses Cho’s ideas about “reforming” the prosecution.
The controversial former justice minister’s memoir became an instant best seller as soon as it went on sale at online and offline bookstores, creating a stir among the public. Readers’ reactions were poles apart. His supporters loved it, while his opponents were left scratching their heads trying to guess Cho’s motive behind publishing such an “unconvincing” memoir at this time.
“Cho Kuk’s Time” ― and similar books which have the potential to divide the nation ― sell better simply because the writers have an unspecified number of die-hard fans who would support him no matter what he does. His book successfully rallied support from them, although the same book raised the eyebrows of many Koreans on the other side of the political fence.
Cho’s memoir becoming a best-seller reminds readers of the publication of a book last year, called “The Unprecedented Nation: How Democracy Comes to an End,” coauthored by five progressive intellectuals. The book critical of the former justice minister stormed into the best-selling books list as soon as it was released in August last year. Among progressive circles, the five authors were treated like enemies from within.
The dominance of politically-divisive books or money-making playbooks in the best-seller list has become a source of concern for those in literary circles.
Writing stories necessitates authors to go through a painful process. Part of the reason why authors of great works are lauded is because they successfully endured such a painful period to create their insightful works that resonate with readers across various walks of life.
If publications that are seen to have skipped such toils or bypassed the rite of passage find commercial success easily, I’m afraid full-time literary creators who solely rely on income from their book sales would be discouraged as their hard work is not rewarded. They would wonder if they still should sit up late at night continuously writing and rewriting their drafts to create innovative, inspirational and incredible works.