He boasted to his co-workers that living in a single-family home in the suburb is every urban dweller’s dream and that his new house is a white single-story house with a sloped roof and a mountain behind it. But the life in the suburb turned out to be a lot different that what he had imagined.
The community reached after two hours on the expressway was enveloped in pitch black. The only light illuminating the road came from his car’s headlights. When he entered the village late at night, the mountain, would thrust out its dark shadow like a big, crouching dog.
The only comforting sound was the dogs barking from all around. When he heard that sound, he felt relieved that he had finally arrived at the village. The dogs were the compound’s only street light and security lamp.
고속도로를 두 시간이나 달려야 도착하는 마을은 암흑 자체였다.
그의 차가 뿜어내는 전조등 불빛이 유일하게 길을 밝혔다.
늦은 밤, 마을로 들어설 때면 산은 덩치 큰 개처럼
시커멓게 누워있다가 재빨리 짙은 그림자를 내밀었다.
그나마 의지가 되는 것은 사방에서 들리는 개 짖는 소리였다.
그 소리를 듣고서야 마을에 제대로 들어섰다는 안도감을 느낄 수 있었다.
개들이야말로 마을의 유일한 가로등이자 보안등이었다.
Interview by Seoul Nat’l Univ. Korean literature professor Bang Min-ho
The kennels have a clear meaning in this story. The protagonist has a big loan and is about to lose his house. The kennels housing fierce dogs signify a capitalistic jungle. The author placed that kennels near the residential area to show that suburbs are not as peaceful as we would like to think, but just as ruthless and dangerous as the kennels.
Since the dogs seemed to be barking from everywhere, the kennels seemed to be in the south when he went to the north and to the left when he went to the right.
He started to get confused over whether the thing he was trying to find was the kennel or the hospital or the dogs that had attacked his boy.
But, even before he had a chance to regret taking the wrong road, he once again heard the sound of barking. The noise came from all around, as if the whole city was a kennel.
개들이 워낙 사방에서 짖었기 때문에
북쪽으로 가면 사육장은 남쪽이 아닌가 생각되었고,
우회전을 하면 좌회전을 해야 하는 게 아닌가 생각되었다.
그는 점차 자신이 찾는 것이 사육장인지,
아이를 치료할 병원인지,
아니면 아이를 물어뜯은 개인지 헷갈리기 시작했다.
길을 잘못 들었다는 후회를 할 새도 없이
개 짖는 소리가 다시 들렸다.
소리는 도시 전체가 사육장이라고 해도 좋을 만큼
산만하게 흩어져서 들려왔다.
Pyun Hye-young (Born in Seoul, 1972)
: Debuted in 2000 with “Shaking Off the Dew”
Won the 2017 Shirley Jackson Awards for novel “The Hole”