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"Renting Solitude" by Kim Kyung-uk

#Books on Demand l 2020-11-10

Books on Demand

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K proudly opened the blind in front of the living room window, revealing a tiny, toy-like garden.

“It’s made with moss. It’s called a topiary garden. This came as a package with the treadmill. Its sprinkler is turned on only after running on the treadmill for an hour. I become incredibly forgiving when I see those creatures get watered with me in sweats. But I didn’t start out renting them.” 

I waited for him to continue.

“What I rented was generosity. I rented a treadmill and some guys in orange uniforms came to put it together in a flash. They knew what imagination was. 


K는 통유리를 가리고 있던 블라인드를 득의만만하게 걷었다.

블라인드가 걷히자 오밀조밀한 정원이 눈앞에 펼쳐졌다.

“이끼로 만든거야.  토피어라고 해. 러닝머신과 패키지로 대여한 거야.

러닝머신을 한 시간 뛰어야 스프링클러가 작동하게 되어 있어.

흠뻑 땀 흘리고 나서 저 녀석들이 촉촉이 젖는 모습을 보고 있노라면

더없이 너그러워져. 그런데 애당초 내가 대여한 것은 저것들이 아니었어” 

나는 K가 말을 잇기만 잠자코 기다렸다.

“내가 대여한 것은 너그러움이었어”

장난삼아 대여를 신청해봤더니 며칠 후 러닝머신이 택배로 날아왔고,

오렌지색 유니폼을 입은 사내들이 와서 

뚝딱뚝딱 저걸 설치하고 갔어. 상상력이 뭔지 아는 친구들이야.“

K had rented ‘generosity’ from the site that rents anything. The protagonist ended up joining the rental site as well.

When I searched for the word ‘solitude,’ a long list of all kinds of solitude, from ‘solitude in the crowd’ to ‘absolute solitude,’ appeared on the monitor. I chose ‘restful solitude.’ I ordered four solitary sessions a month for 25,000 won per session. I picked Sunday as the rental day.

검색창에 고독을 입력하고 엔터키를 누르자

<군중 속의 고독>에서부터 <절대고독>까지

상상할 수 있는 모든 고독의 목록이 눈앞에 망라되었다.

나는 <휴식같은 고독>을 선택했다.

나는 일회 대여료 이만 오천원에 월 4회분을 신청했다.

매주 일요일을 대여날짜로 지정했다.

# Interview by Literature critic Jeon So-young 

This site that rents anything sounds very intriguing. It would be a miracle if you could rent not only goods, but also an emotion. But miracles rarely become reality, which is why miracles are so special. Anyway, anything rented cannot be yours completely. K would have to return those appliances and furniture someday, including the sense of generosity. His good fortune seems to have a prearranged ending, a bad one at that.  

Kim Kyung-uk (Born in 1971, Gwangju)

: Debuted by winning the Writer’s World Best New Writer’s Award in 1993. 

Won the 40th Yi Sang Literary Award in 2016, etc.

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