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"A House Built with Wafers" by Ha Seong-ran

#Books on Demand l 2019-10-01

Books on Demand

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The sisters often had nightmares of their house collapsing. 


The floor would cave in and the sisters would fall to their parents’ master bedroom. The distance between the two floors was barely two meters, but the sisters would plunge endlessly toward the darkness. 


The sisters’ screams would ring out in a muffled echo, as if they were trapped inside a well. 


Even while suffering through the nightmares, the sisters continued to grow and started their first menstruations. Although nobody ordered them to do so, the girls started walking on tiptoe.


자매들은 곧잘 집이 무너지는 꿈을 꾸었다.

바닥이 꺼지면서

자매들은 부모님이 자고 있는 안방으로 곤두박질쳤다.

이층까지의 높이가 채 이미터가 되지 않았는데도

자매들은 어두운 바닥으로 한없이 한 없이 떨어졌다.

자매가 내지르는 비명소리는

우물 속에서처럼 갇혀 울렸다.

자매들은 악몽을 꾸면서 키가 크고 초조를 시작했다.

자매들은 누가 시키지도 않았는데 

첨족증에 걸린 사람처럼 발뒤꿈치를 들고 걸었다.



Just when the wooden floor began to groan and creak under the weight of the now taller and heavier girls, they began to leave home one by one. 



Interview by literature critic Jeon So-yeong

A wafer is a type of cookie made up of several thin layers. Often sold in rectangular blocks, wafers appear solid, quite sturdy on the outside. But when you bite into it, it crumbles easily and you realize that the cookie is very fragile. The main character’s house in this story is likened to a wafer cookie, a structure shoddily built with thin, fragile materials.



The wooden floor beneath her feet twisted and cracked.


The crunching sound from the dry wooden floor resembled that of a crispy cookie. Mother stepped carefully, as if walking on thin ice. 


Crunch, crunch, crunch. 


The sisters laughed while Mother stepped on every inch of the floor to find out which part made the loudest noise. The second oldest daughter cried out.


“This is a house made of cookies. The floor is made out of wafers. This is just like the sound made when eating a wafer.” 


The sisters all lifted up their heels and shouted out in unison.


“So better be careful! Be careful!” 


어머니의 발 밑에서 마룻장이 뒤틀렸다.

바싹 마른 마룻장이 바삭, 잘 구운 과자 소리를 냈다,

어머니가 살얼음판을 딛듯 조심스럽게 발을 뗐다. 

바삭, 바삭, 바삭.

자매들은 웃었고, 어머니는 특히 소리가 심한 곳을 찾아내려는 듯

마룻장을 모두 디뎌보았다.

둘째가 자신만만하게 소리쳤다.

“과자로 만든 집이야. 

 마루는 음, 웨하스로 만들었어.

 이건 웨하스 씹을 때 나는 소리야” 

자매들이 발끝을 들면서 이구동성으로 외쳤다.


“그러니 조심해!” 




Ha Seong-ran (Born in 1967, Seoul)

: Debuted with short story “Grass” in 1996

Won the 54th Modern Literature Award in 2009

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