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"Ant, My Poor Ant" by Ryu So-yeong

#Books on Demand l 2020-06-16

Books on Demand

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She suffered from binge eating. Binge eating. 


I was familiar with the term anorexia nervosa or something at the opposite end of the spectrum, bulimia nervosa, but I have never heard of binge eating. 


Binge eating was a sadder and more painful illness that had all the elements of both anorexia and bulimia.  


그녀의 병명은 폭식증이었다.

폭식증....

거식증이나 혹은 그 반대편에 있는 대식증이라는 단어는

내게 꽤 익숙한 것이었지만,

폭식증은 처음 듣는 것이었다.


폭식증을 말하자면,

거식증과 대식증의 요소를 모두 다 갖고 있는

더 슬프고 괴로운 병이었다.



Ryu So-yeong’s “Ant, My Poor Ant” is about a young bulimic patient named Shin Ju-yeon who died in a car accident. 



Interview by literature critic Jeon So-yeong

The sense of taste is known as the most social of all human senses. When you think about it, dining is very much a social behavior. We often say “Let’s get something to eat” when we want to know someone better. The Korean word for family, “sikgu,” means those who eat together. In this story, the topic of eating, especially binge eating, is used to describe loneliness and other issues stemming from human relationships.     



“There must be a reason.” 


“Yes, I used to be a big eater since I was a child. I look like my sister only in the face. Our body shapes are completely different. I think I consciously started eating less ever since I started noticing my body. I wanted to appear smaller.” 


“Why smaller?” 


“My sister and I were always together, like a pair of gloves. Everyone told us that we were both pretty, but I was tall and kind of looked tomboyish.” 


Yes, she was tall. At 173 centimeters, she stuck out. 


”짐작 가는 건 있을테죠”

“그래요. 어렸을 때부터 남들보다 조금 먹긴 했어요.

 제가 언니랑 얼굴 생김만 많이 닮았지 체형은 완전 딴판이잖아요.

 자신의 체형을 의식하게 되는 나이부터는 

 아마 의식적으로 조금 먹었을거예요.

 조그맣게 보이고 싶어서요”

“조그많게 보이고 싶어서요?”

“ 언니랑 단짝처럼 친해서 어릴 적부터 늘 붙어 다녔었는데,

 밖에 나가면 다들 그랬거든요.

 둘 다 예쁜데, 둘째는 애가 너무 꺼꾸정하니 머슴애 같다구요”

그랬다. 그녀는 컸다.

키가 173센티쯤 되는 그녀는 우뚝했다.




Ryu So-yeong (Born in 1973, Busan)

: Debuted by publishing a poem in the winter volume of “Poem and Poetry” in 1994

Won the Munhak Dongne Literary Contest with short story “While Drawing a Circle” in 1997

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