Fiction

"Sampoong Department Store" by Jeong Yi Hyun
On June 29, 1995, Thursday at 5:55 in the afternoon, Sampoong Department Store in the 1675-3 district collapsed. It took less than a second for each floor to fall. That spring I had many things. I had comparatively genial,moderately conservative parents, a clean full-size bed, asemi-transparent, green Motorola pager, and four handbags. And at night, with my boyfriend recently employed at an investment firm company, we dated according to The Ideal Couple’s Dating Manual (although I didn’t actually check to see if the book actually exists.) Those nights were responsible, boring dates. Because I believed that if I only tried...
Seven Cat Eyes by Choi Jae-hoon
Recipe for Revenge 1 Schubert: String Quartet No.14 in D Minor, D.810, “Death and the Maiden.” The Munch painting of the same name graces the cover of the CD. The naked maiden and the skeleton man kissing as they embrace each other. The maiden’s flesh glows pink. Red tresses cascade down the supple curves of her back and shoulders. Her demurely closed eyes seem to be fluttering. The wan skeleton man looks pitifully frail next to the buxom maiden. His bony claws can barely contain her sturdy waist. He tries to retreat, pushing his hips awkwardly backward. The maiden has...
Fumbling, I Knew I'd End Up Like This by Lee Kiho
[...... ] It hadn’t been two months since Su-young had gone to the abandoned house when something terrible happened in the South. Two nuclear reactors, one in the southeast, one in the southwest, exploded, two hours apart. As with every human catastrophe, this one came without warning, at random. Its cause was not the primary issue of concern. Rather, the real problem was that the damage was so great, it was beyond recovery. As soon as the incident occurred, the majority of residents within a 40-kilometer radius of the reactors died instantly. The radiation spread more than 400 kilometers in...
Ginger by Chun Woon-young
Beauty is what it takes. Victory always belongs to beauty. Perfect skill is truly beautiful. Beautiful skill. Complete surrender. Perfect victory. Don’t get so flustered. Each and every movement must be made with economy, with utmost care. No gesture or look must be left to chance. Everything must be carried out for one purpose. One purpose only. Fear. Surrender can be obtained only by extracting the root of fear. Violence without skill breeds nothing more than hatred and resistance. Drawing out fear involves a process, and principles. Once in possession of a perfect skill, you can bring them to surrender...
Bed by Choi Suchol
There was a troubled region of the world that was once one people, one nation, but became divided in two and waged in a fierce warfare. This is a story about something that happened in a prison camp there. Outside the camp, the war was coming to an end. But sporadic battles were going on, more intensely than ever. Rumor was going around that soon, a ceasefire would be called, so both sides were fighting desperately to be at an advantage at the ceasefire agreement. As a result, the prison camp was full of tension. The prisoners were largely grouped...
A Contrived World by Jung Young Moon
As I lay alone in bed that night, I couldn’t get out of my mind the thought of the hippie who did nothing and lived on dead raccoons and deer. The hippie was someone I didn’t know, and I hadn’t lived in such a way, but he felt so close and familiar to me. Perhaps it was because I, having had to go hungry for many days, for reasons different from those of the hippie, mostly because I didn’t have an appetite or any kind of desire, of course, had a very good understanding of hunger. And the story about...
1F/B1 by Kim Junghyuk
Records state that the Neotown Union of Building Managers was officially dissolved in August 2007, but it still survives as an underground organization. It was an underground organization even before they disbanded—the managers always lived underground—but now they have taken cover under perfect darkness, the underground of the underground, the pit of the world. No other organization in the history of mankind has fit the description of “underground organization” so perfectly. The building managers of Neotown call themselves SM, a title that originates from that unforgettable incident of April 2007 called, in official SM parlance, the Battle in the Dark...
What You Never Know by Jeong Yi Hyun
The body was discovered on the last Sunday in May. It was the time of day choir members, cloaked in pigeon-gray sack-like gowns, sit in rows in the back yard of the church under the glare of the sun and practice hymns they would sing during second service; the time of day men and women, who met for the first time the previous night, have another round of hot, awkward sex, ignoring throbbing temples caused by their hangovers; the time of day egocentric husbands and fathers, wearing their neighborhood soccer league uniforms, run across middle school playfields, the muscles of...
The Last Event by Yoo Eunsil
Song I like the age spots on my grandpa’s face. They put me at ease. Looking at them even helps me digest. Back when I was in second grade, I liked to pretend my grandpa’s wrinkly forehead was a treasure map. My grandpa is seventy-nine years old. “Seventy-nine is a good age to die,” he says out of habit. Last year he said, “Seventy-eight is a good age to die.” And the year before he said, “Seventy-seven is a good age to die.” He always says this. The first time I heard him say this, I felt uncomfortable and worried...
Greek Lessons by Han Kang
2. Silence The woman brings her hands together in front of her chest. She wrinkles her forehead and looks up at the blackboard. “Now, read it aloud.” A man, with a smile playing on his lips, says to the woman. He is wearing a thick pair of silver-rimmed glasses. The woman’s lips quiver. She licks her bottom lip with the tip of her tongue. Her hands fidget nervously but quietly in front of her. She parts her mouth momentarily, then closes it. She holds her breath, then inhales deeply. As if to say that he will wait patiently for her,...

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