David Kute’s writing can be described in literary terms such as genre, viewpoint, language, and tone. He writes in the literary fiction genre about primarily American characters in settings outside America. The viewpoint is first person or third person, depending on the work. His narratives have informal and poetic language. Generally, his writing has an informative, candid, sentimental, and impassioned tone. Of course, the tone for each piece differs, so this description can be applied loosely. Like any writer, he writes in specific ways, and the same applies to other elements such as themes and settings.
Kute’s works deal with a wide range of themes and settings. From 2014-2019, his writing was about relationships, love, friendship, loss, the interplay of cultures, and interactions between the foreign and the native. One overarching theme for at least three works was the difficulty of relationships. Most of his stories, while written in English, are set in places where English is infrequently spoken, such as South Korea, Japan, and Russia. The themes and settings are wide- ranging, which has an influence on the characters.
The characters in the stories are typical of the environments they inhabit. For example, in the novella Queen of Firsts, some major characters are Korean, American, and Chinese nationals and are employed as teachers, managers, lawyers, soldiers, and restaurant workers. The characters are drawn from real-life scenarios and reflect social data for the times and places where they are located. Kute is an American, and some of his works are written from the perspective of English speakers and expats. There is a focus on Western foreigners and travelers residing in or visiting countries like South Korea, Russia, and Japan. Americans figure prominently in his writing, as they are often the main characters. Local or native people also figure heavily as major characters in the stories. His stories are about people situated in new lands, living in foreign cultures, interacting with people they’ve just met. They are the stories of diaspora, their struggles, and the people around them. The stories chronicle parts of new, temporary expat communities as much as they inform about the larger, surrounding environments. Cultural contact is a major element, and the contact between cultures is conveyed in a way that shows how the duality of misunderstanding and the understanding that emerges due to genuine connections is always present. The characters fit his writing in its realistic focus.
The writing largely seeks to have a journalistic, anthropological man- on- the- street feel. It seeks to chronicle the realities of life, including timely and historic aspects such as trends, hot topics, political happenings, and current events. It is about real people and the issues they have such as finding meaning, enjoying life, conflicts, cultural contact, friendship, romantic relationships, misunderstanding, the social realities of bringing together various backgrounds, seizing the moment, inaction, endings, new beginnings, and learning about new cultures. Beyond describing his literature, there are details for each of his novellas, short story anthologies, and short stories.
In 2015, he wrote Queen of Firsts, a forty thousand word novella. It is a first person account of Dexter, a lovesick American English teacher. Tortured by a girl that rejects him but has a constant presence in his life, he meets Laurinda, a wealthy Chinese university student. Laurinda has her own problems as she’s run away from her broken family. Themes include love, relationships, separation, and modern communication.
In 2016 and 2017, he wrote two novellas and one short story anthology: The Auburn Girl, Youngri and the Keys, and The Sangsu Tales: The Red Cricket and Other Stories.
He first came up with the idea for The Auburn Girl in late 2010. The fifty thousand word novella is told in the third person. It tells of a relationship between two jazz musicians and explores themes like obsession, sexual promiscuity, lust, and creativity.
Youngri and the Keys was begun in mid- 2014. The third person novella focuses on the relationship between a composer and the director of a North Korean NGO. The artsy, eccentric, and creative Korean female musician Youngri meets the serious, careerist white American male Frederick. The two are not an obvious match, but that doesn’t stop them from spending time together and starting a romantic relationship. But does Youngri really like Frederick, and does he really want her? Themes include romance, romantic rivalry, interplay of cultures, and discord.
The writing he did on The Sangsu Tales: The Red Cricket and Other Stories in 2016 and 2017 continued earlier work from late 2013 onwards on characters and story ideas. The short stories are written with a chaotic tone and non- linear plots. They revolve around a group of foreign and Korean jazz musicians living and working in bohemian haunts and old residences in Seoul, South Korea.
In 2017 and 2018, he wrote The Texas Street Anthology, a series of short stories about Texas Street in Busan, South Korea. The small area across from Busan Station and nearby the ports stretches for the length of about four blocks. The anthology focuses on various residents and visitors to the area, including Americans, Russians, Koreans, and other nationalities.
Projects that are currently being developed include the anthologies Central, Sangsu 2, and the small set of short stories Competing Views at the Hostel. Central is about South Koreans living in Central Seoul. Sangsu 2 is a sequel to The Sangsu Tales: The Red Cricket and Other Stories. Competing Views at the Hostel is about guests and staff at a Japanese guesthouse.
Some short stories he has written are Gray Reveries and Mystery Man on Red Square.