EDITED ON 2014.05.10 – My blog stats show that so many people have somehow found this post, likely looking for more information on the book after watching “You Came From The Stars / My Love From The Stars”. After posting this back in January when the drama was airing in Korea, I later managed to find a copy of the book. It’s heartwarming, and in many ways, Edward’s story is reminiscent of Min Joon’s. The rabbit’s journey and experiences with each of the people who manage to find and care for him feels like the many lifetimes Min Joon has had to live since he came to Earth. They both loved and lost and loved again, and eventually, managed to find their way back home.
I’ve added an excerpt from the book below, which is the part Min Joon was reading in the drama.
～゜・_・゜～ ☆ ～゜・_・゜～ ☆ ～゜・_・゜～
Soompi ran a story on how the book sold some 30,000 copies (in Korea, I assume) after this episode of the drama “You Came From The Stars 별에서 온 그대” (a.k.a. “My Love From Another Star”) aired.
In the drama, Do Min Joon (Kim Soo Hyun) is an alien who has been living on Earth for several centuries. Just like any self-respecting immortal, he has amassed enough riches to maintain a swanky apartment with an awesome hidden library.
In one scene, he is seen reading Kate DiCamillo’s “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane”, an illustrated (by Bagram Ibatoulline) children’s book.
Once, in a house on Egypt Street, there lived a china rabbit named Edward Tulane. The rabbit was very pleased with himself, and for good reason: he was owned by a girl named Abilene, who treated him with the utmost care and adored him completely.
And then, one day, he was lost.
Kate DiCamillo takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the depths of the ocean to the net of a fisherman, from the top of a garbage heap to the fireside of a hoboes’ camp, from the bedside of an ailing child to the bustling streets of Memphis. And along the way, we are shown a true miracle — that even a heart of the most breakable kind can learn to love, to lose, and to love again.
Here is the excerpt which Min Joon was reading in that scene. I’ve quoted a few more additional lines to give it some context:
“Once there was a princess who was very beautiful. She shone as bright as the stars on a moonlit night. But what difference did it make that she was beautiful? None. No difference.”
“Why did it make no difference?” asked Abilene.
“Because,” said Pelligrina, “she was a princess who loved no one and cared nothing for love, even though there were many who loved her.”
☆彡 The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane — Chapter Four
I’m not sure why the writer picked this part to highlight in the episode, but I feel like the description of the princess somehow reflects what Min Joon thought of Song Yi at this point in the story.
When Soompi wrote that the book was published in 2009 and that it didn’t generate any interest then, they are referring to the Korean edition; the English first edition was published in 2006, and within a span of 2 or so years, it was nominated for and won several awards.
The publishing industry exec that was interviewed made an interesting point: “…that the bestselling status of a work can be influenced by a single broadcast is very bittersweet, reflecting the fragile state of the Korean literary market.” The appearance of the book was about as effective as most product placements in Korean dramas (i.e. very effective)!
I’m no publishing guru, and I have no idea what the literary market there is like, but it’s obvious that this cross-media thing is happening everywhere. Many publishers, especially American ones, know that social networks, movies, television, fandom (just go on Tumblr) and other non-traditional book marketing increase awareness and sales, and exploit those. Those are part of why the Young Adult demographic is alive and kicking…and hey, those are also part of how a K-pop album can sell a million copies.
I write about books and give away books not only because I enjoy it but also, in my own small way, I want to try to make people more interested in reading. Personally, while I think it is disheartening that it has to take a drama to get people interested in reading a certain book, I am nevertheless happy that it got people reading in the first place. I appreciate that the writer used such a public platform to introduce a book that she liked.
Next move for the publisher: invite Kate DiCamillo to do a book signing in Korea and make sure Kim Soo Hyun attends. 😛 (Kidding.) (Or maybe not.)