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Friday, July 30, 2004

a short story: Seoul winter, 1964

Kim Seung-ok's collection of short stories Sôul 1964nyôn kyôul (Seoul 1964 Winter) was mentioned somewhere; had to find out something more about it, and understood it's something I should read.
Quotes from the above link:
조선일보 : 첨단에 첨단을 거듭하고 있는 오늘날의 서울과 견주어 볼 때,김승옥이 그려 보이고 있는 1964년 서울은 단순하고 소박한 것이 퍽이나 인간적으로 여겨진다.인간적으로 말이다. 내가 세상에 태어나기 바로 전 해인 64년 겨울,오뎅과 구운 참새와 세 가지 종류의 술을 팔던 선술집이란 소설 공간 속에서 진행된 무의미한 대화들. 이제는 여러가지 의미에서 아득한 전설이 되어 버린 부끄러운 자의식은 그들의 배반을,무책임을,자살 방조를 어쩔 수 없이 용서하게 한다. - 신수정(문학평론가) (1997-07-16)

한국일보 : 지금으로부터 30년 세월 저쪽의 수도 서울,그리고 그곳에 몸담고 살던 소시민들의 초상. <서울 1964년 겨울>을 접할 수 있었던 행운은 이제 우리세대의 문학적 부채가 되었다.지금,바로,이곳에서 우리가 그려내야 할 또 다른 서울의 모습은 어떤 것일까. - 박상우 (소설가) (1996-12-02)
As much as I've been reading about Korea, I haven't used much time for fiction literature, thinking that I wouldn't apprehend it well enough. That's why I've remained ignorant of for example Kim Seung-ok and "Seoul 1964 Winter", which as I know learn is a real classic of Korean literature. After I red Jo Jung-rae(조정래)'s 10-volume novel Han'gang I understood how important fiction is to make sense of the atmosphere of an era, in this case 1960s and 1970s. No scholarly book on Korea has ever had that impact.

Perhaps it's also a matter of language; English for me is a non-emotional language of scholarly (or something) writing, while Korean has personally much more emotional meaning, and is in that sense closer to my mother tongue than English.

Here's a link to the whole text of the short story: 서울, 1964년, 겨울

All I needed to do was to browse our own bookshelf to find this short story, printed in a multivolume collection of Korean short stories. Now I just got to get used to reading vertical print. (When I started reading Korean newspapers, some still used vertical print, but I've never gotten used to it.)

I corrected the title of this post, because the Seoul winter, 1964 is a short story, not a novel.

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