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"Where Did Choi Mi-jin Go?" by Lee Ki-ho

#Books on Demand l 2020-12-15

Books on Demand

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Around the middle of last month, I logged into a used goods site to buy an external hard drive and found someone selling my full-length novel published two years ago at a knockdown price. 

An active member with the user ID of James Shut the Shutter had posted it. Beside my book, he was selling more than 50 fiction books and about 20 outdated quarterly magazines. 

The books were divided into three groups, each one with varying prices, like 7,000 won, 5,000 won, and 4,000 won. The quarterly magazines were all equally priced at 2,000 won per copy.

My book was in the third group.

지난 달 중순 무렵, 외장 하드를 사려고 우연히 중고 사이트에 들어갔다가

누군가 내 책을, 그러니까 이 년 전에 나온 내 장편소설을

염가 판매하고 있는 사실을 발견했다. 

아이디가 ‘제임스 셔터내려’인 열심회원이 올린 글이었는데, 

그는 내 책 말고도 쉰 권이 넘는 소설책과

스무 권 가량 되는 철 지난 계간지를 팔고 있었다.

소설책은 그룹 1, 그룹 2, 그룹 3 하는 식으로 구분을 지어

칠천원, 오천원, 사천원 각기 다른 가격을 매겨 놓았고, 

내 책은 그룹 3에 속해 있었다.

Lee Ki-ho carefully read the seller’s comments on the books. The comment on Park Sang-ryung’s박상륭 “Yeolmyeonggil열명길” sorted into Group 1 said “The beginning of an overwhelming legend, which is why this book is 7,000 won.” Ki-ho moved the mouse to read the comment on his own book.

49. Lee Ki-ho. Campy story. The story grows lamer as it progresses. Ridiculously it’s an autographed copy. Free if you buy five books from Groups 1 and 2. 

I let go of the mouse and crossed my arms. I even tried to laugh out loud. But the laughter didn’t last long. 

Ridiculously it’s an autographed copy… Free when you buy five books… Park Hyeong-seo’s book was 4,000 won…

I banged hard on the table with my fist. 

49. 이기호.병맛소설. 갈수록 더 한심해지는, 꼴에 저자 사인본

(그룹 1, 2에서 다섯 권 구매시 무료 증정 )

나는 마우스에서 손을 떼 잠깐 팔짱을 껴보았다. 

허허, 일부터 소리를 내어 웃어보기도 했다. 하지만 웃음소리는 그리 오래가지 않았다. 

꼴에 저자 사인본이라는 거지....다섯 권 구매시 무료로 준다는 거지... 

박형서는 그냥 사천원이라는 거지.... 

나는 묵직하게, 책상을 한 방 내리쳤다.

Interview by SNU Korean literature prof. Bang Min-ho

No matter what others say or think, a writer always grants meaning to his or her work. But some of the book reviews I read were quite ruthless. The protagonist’s book is described as campy, meaning not good at all. It’s a painful reminder of the truth that hurt the writer’s pride. The comment made the writer doubt his own identity and ability.

Lee Ki-ho (Born in 1972, Wonju, Gangwon-do Prov.)

: Debuted by winning the 1999 Modern Literature New Writer’s Contest with short story “Bunny” 

Won the 49th Dongin Literary Award in 2018

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