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"A Triangular House" by Ha Geun-chan

#Books on Demand l 2019-09-10

Books on Demand

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Ha Geun-chan’s “Triangular House” was published in humanities magazine Sasanggye in 1966. In the first part of the story, the main character borrows a book of photographs from his photographer friend and looks through it with his young son, Yeong-il.



“Wow, this looks cool. Father, this is Christmas, right? Christmas in America?” 


He was right. It was a picture of Christmas in America. 

But the Christmas in the photo was not that of colorful decorations or a party or a church choir. 


It was a picture of a doghouse, a large, triangular house. 

A small Christmas tree stood next to it and a cross was placed on the roof. 


“야! 이거 멋있다.

 아버지, 이거 크리스마스지요? 미국의 크리스마스지요?“ 

영일이의 말마따나 크리스마스를 소재로 한 미국의 작품이었다.

그러나 크리스마스라고 해서 

흔히 볼 수 있는 화려한 실내장식이나 파티,

혹은 교회의 성가대 같은 그런 것이 아니었다.

개집이었다.

큼직한 삼각형의 집이었다.

곁에 조그만 크리스마스트리가 세워져 있고,

지붕에는 십자가가 꽂혀 있었다.



The next day, the narrator’s family went to visit the newly built home of Jong-doo, his wife’s cousin. The new house was located in Miari on the outskirts of Seoul. They got off the bus at the market entrance and walked up a hill for quite a while. 



“This looks like that American doghouse.” 

“What?” 

“The American doghouse I saw in that book. That house looks exactly like that doghouse, with a pointy roof.” 

“You shouldn’t say things like that!” 


But I was already thinking the same. 


It was a triangle. 

Well, to be exact, this house was a pentagon, like that doghouse in the photo. 


What was interesting about the house was its roof. Tarp pieces and black oiled paper sheets were laced together to serve as a roof, but cardboard boxes were used to patch up some spots, perhaps because they ran out of the roofing materials or because there were leaks. 


“꼭 미국 개집 같죠?” 

“뭐?” 

“책에 있는 미국 개집 말이에요. 꼭 그 개집같이 생겼잖아요. 삐죽하고...“ 

“그런 소리 하는거 아냐!”


그러나 이미 나도 그런 생각을 하고 있었다.

삼각형인 것이었다.

물론 이 집도 정확하게 말하면

사진에 있는 그 개집처럼 오각형이었다.

그리고 재미있는 것은 지붕이었다.

천막조각과 시꺼먼 油紙(유지)조각으로 이어 맞추다가 

모자라서 그랬는지,

혹은 빗물이 새서 그랬는지,

군데군데 레이션박스 조각으로 땜질을 해 놓았다.




Ha Geun-chan (Born in Yeongcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do Prov. Oct. 21, 1931~Nov. 25, 2007)

: Debuted with “The Suffering of Two Generations” in 1957

Won an Order of Cultural Merit in 1998

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