Please, Pyun Hye Young, Don’t Stop Walking

 

For a long time, Pyun Hye Young worked in an office in the city. Nowadays she works at a university teaching creative writing, but she must still be spending a lot of time in an office. I imagine that her documents and scraps of paper, dappled with her fingerprints, are piled up in a basement storeroom in a secret building, and there a shadow, having lost its body, is reading out the sentences written on the old, soggy paper. The voice of the shadow echoes along an iron staircase which runs up to the office.

     Pyun Hye Young likes paper and writing implements, and often her gaze is concentrated on things like teacups, plates, and empty containers. All of those things will be made up of perfect rectangles, triangles, and circles. Like an office worker, Pyun Hye Young knows how to conceal her intentions and how to be considerate of others. She speaks her words clearly as though typing them out. She resolutely erases the language of pain and despair, dealing only with the matter at hand, and at times alters the atmosphere with a dry joke. Her hands, as they lower the blinds, will exude just the right mixture of coolness and warmth.

     There is no particular subject matter or type of character that Pyun Hye Young favors. She lives a life without anything you might call a hobby. Once, when asked whether she liked animals she responded, “I’m not able to like an animal that’s covered in fur.” Not able to like. I want to draw emphasis to those words. Born in the Year of the Rat, she hates rats, but she does like their habits. She said that she finds the way that they follow the same fixed path every day interesting. People who follow the same fixed path every day. The characters in her novels come to mind. They are people who walk keeping a fixed gait, but limp when no one is looking. It seems just as if you were to say, “Oh my, you’re limping!” the response would be, “Really? I don’t think so,” accompanied a moment later by an awkward smile.

     People who live their everyday lives with their desires regime...