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"Hansan Notebook" by Hae Yi-soo

#Books on Demand l 2021-05-25

Books on Demand

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I took a sip of a 1,000-won sweetened coffee and then put on the earphones before turning on the voice recorder. There were more than 30 audio files recorded over the last 15 days. The interviews were conducted on merchants, street vendors, and various other subjects. 

That winter, I roamed around the village of Hansan with a voice recorder and a notebook for over two weeks. 

천 원짜리 설탕 커피를 한 모금 홀짝였다.

그리고 이어폰을 끼고 보이스레코더를 작동시켰다.

지난 보름간 녹취한 음성 파일은 30건이 넘었다.

인터뷰 대상은 모시 생산자와 시장 상인

그리고 노점상 등으로 다양했다.

대설주의보와 한파주의보가 하루걸러 내려지는 올겨울에

나는 보이스레코더와 수첩을 들고

한산면을 헤집고 다녔다.

Interview by literary critic Jeon So-yeong

The story’s main character used to write solely based on his ideas, without actually experiencing any of the events or emotions. But now he has ventured outside of his room and writing a real story about real people. The protagonist seems to say that the real stories are not written in the comfort of his own room, but when he goes out and listens to people’s stories. 

The fried chicken place had no tables in the hall. Instead, there were two student desks each occupied by a child in his early teens and a boy who was likely a middle school student. 

Their mother was reading a newspaper in front of the deep fryer and their father was getting ready for delivery. Despite the cramped space, this family appeared to be thoughtfully and quietly encouraging each member’s endeavor. 

For no reason at all, I began to tear up at the sight of this family. The parents seemed to cope with the hardships of life by looking at their children study. The sight of tattered books in the bookcase brought tears to my eyes and my heart raced together with the children’s quick-moving pencils. And the children worked hard to broaden their mental horizon, without any complaint, at their parents’ workplace.

이 가게는 여느 치킨집이면 구비하기 마련인 손님용 테이블이 없다.

대신 두 개의 학생용 책상이 있다.

초등학교 고학년으로 보이는 아이는 좌측 벽의 책상에 앉아 있고,

중학생쯤 되는 큰 아이는 출입구에 등을 보이고 앉아 있다.

우측 사이드의 튀김 조리시설 앞에는 어머니가 신문을 읽고 있다.

아버지는 출입구의 작은 의자에 앉아서 

공부하는 두 아들의 등을 보며 배달을 준비하고 있다.

그 가족은 한 두 걸음이면 닿을 거리임에도 불구하고

서로 조심하며 독려하는 듯 보였다.

목화솜 같은 눈송이가 펄펄 내리는 밤거리에 서서

그 가족을 보고 있으면 까닭없이 눈물이 핑돌았다.

아버지와 어머니는 아이들이 공부하는 뒷모습을 보며

노동의 피로와 쪼들리는 살림살이를 감내하는 듯 여겨졌다.

그리고 아이들은 아버지와 어머니의 삶의 현장에서

아무런 불평없이 정신적 지평을 넓히는 데 열중이었다.

Hae Yi-soo (Born in Suwon, Gyeonggi-do Prov., Apr. 25, 1973)

: Debuted with “Desert with a Kangaroo” in 2000

Received the 24th Young Artist Award in the literature category in 2016, etc.

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