Fiction

The White Book by Han Kang
I In the spring, when I decided to write about white things, the first thing I did was to make a list. Swaddling bands Newborn gown Salt Snow Ice Moon Rice Waves Yulan White bird ‘Laughing whitely’ Blank paper White dog White hair Shroud With each item I wrote down, a ripple of agitation ran through me. I felt that yes, I needed to write this book, and that the process of writing it would be transformative, would itself transform. Into something like white ointment applied to a swelling, like gauze laid over a wound. Something I needed. But then,...
"The Seven Thirty-Two Elephant Train" by Hwang Jungeun
Passi’s uncle had a gentle voice and face, but he did cruel things when no one was watching. He was a cruel man. Passi barely moved his lips when he uttered those words. Did he beat you? With his fist or a tool? I asked him. Passi rocked his body back and forth. It was a more subtle form of abuse, he said. Verbal abuse that conveyed a physical form. Malicious acts. Unpleasant contact. For instance, when he was talking to you, he would always pull your upper ear. Like this. Passi pulled the top part of his ear with...
"The Third Breast" by Cheon Un-yeong
Do you remember how I unwittingly pinched your nipple when I first scooped up your breasts? You let out a short shriek and laughed loudly as you wrapped your hands around my face. “Men usually touch it with their tongues first. Don’t you think you’re a little strange?” you asked me, pausing your laughter for a second. For some reason, your words made me feel smug. You kept giggling and left your breasts to me. I felt a tightly closed door gently open at the sound of your laughter. Warm memories, confined behind the closed door, walked out. I wanted...
Diary of a Murderer by Kim Young-ha
I killed people regularly for thirty years. I was really diligent back then. Now the statute of limitations has passed for them all and I can even go on about them anywhere. If this was America I could probably publish a memoir. People would attack me. Let them, if they want. It’s not like I have many days left. If I think about it, I’m a pretty tough one. After all those killings, I stopped cold. I felt like, well, like a boatman who’d just sold his boat or a mercenary who’d just retired. I can’t say for sure, but...
"Ginkgo Tree" by Kim Un-su
But after three years, the Ginkgo tree suddenly started to grow with frightening speed, remarkable considering its slow progress in the first three years. The pea-sized tree grew to the size of a chestnut in a mere month, and an orange in two months. On the third month, it was the size of a watermelon. “It’s awesome! It grew so much this month, too. I think the manure really helped. A little smelly, though. Ha ha. Anyway, I’m glad the tree is growing well, but I’d hate to draw attention to myself because of this. What if I end up...
Life Unperturbed by Eun Heekyung
Liu’s Narrative On a spring day long ago, Liu’s father saw the most beautiful woman in the world. She was talking on the phone, leaning against the glass of a phone booth. Slight of frame, she was wearing a pale green polka dot dress with a white sweater. She was holding the receiver to her ear with one hand, and her face, fair and transparent, was tilted to one side. She was carrying books and notebooks under her arm. Her long-lashed eyes looked into the distance as if dreaming, and her lips were lustrous as rose petals. Her chin, which...
To Dream of a Mountain by Park Wansuh
Sister-in-law changed the dressing for the bullet hole in Brother’s leg in the main room. His calf was skinny but the hole was fresh and deep. The old gauze dressing, a centimeter wide, spiraled out endlessly from the hole, and the new one seemed to go in inch after inch with no end in sight. The suffocating pain of watching probably added to that feeling. It was difficult not to wish the bullet had pierced his heart instead. It was a fiery yet chilling thought. Brother asked what I saw outside. “Nothing. I didn’t see anyone,” I replied. “We’re the...
Seven Years of Darkness by Jeong You Jeong
The new manager didn’t show up even after Seung-hwan finished making the depth gauge. He calmed his nerves with beer he bought at the rest area. Only after he downed two cans did he realize what he’d drunk could kill him. He waited until nine, doing push-ups, trying to clear the alcohol from his system. He had to go to the lake that night. He had to enter the lake without the people from the lowlands and the company housing finding out, and seek Atlantis between today and tomorrow, when he was alone and off duty, to complete his mission...
The Wizard Bakery by Gu Byeong-mo
Provided he kept his mouth shut, people saw a man of intellect, an artisan or an expert, unpretentious yet with a certain mystery. They saw his silly paper hat and the ponytail peeking out beneath it, his face the color of finely sifted baking powder, his meticulous, graceful, efficient gestures. A baker with talent enough to keep his shop running on word-of-mouth alone without joining a franchise. I’d always seen him that way until one day, I pointed a pair of tongs at a piece of pastry that sort of resembled a streuseltopped bun but with some questionable modifications, and...
The Korean Table by Korean Cuisine and Dining Production Team, KBS
Buddhist Temple Cuisine: A table set with nature and eaten with the soul We have changed many things in keeping with the times. As we aspire to an increasingly fast-paced and convenient way of life, including one-minute rice and three-minute soups, it is probably no wonder that our diet and recipes should change as well. But there is a place where we can fully appreciate the flavor and allure of the traditional Korean table and its respect for the natural rhythm of time. It is the Buddhist temple. In Buddhist cuisine, every step entails patience and tolerance for painstaking work,...

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