Stories that Morph and Mingle: Seven Cat Eyes by Choi Jae-hoon
- onOctober 23, 2014
- Vol.14 Winter 2011
- byPark Hyekyung
- Seven Cat Eyes
Choi Jae-hoon is a new writer whose career is about to take off. His debut story, “Baron Quirval’s Castle,” centers around a virtual film called “Baron Quirval’s Castle” with the characters from the Middle Ages who enjoy eating human flesh; diverse discourses on cannibalism are interwoven like a mosaic in the story. Refreshing narrative devices that are not often used in fiction are employed in a witty manner; for example, newspaper articles, interviews with the film director and actors, a description of a college lecture hall, and excerpts from a thesis on cannibalism. Since then, the writer has continued to work on stories in which he has reinterpreted or put together things like fusion food, characters such as Sherlock Holmes, Frankenstein, a witch, a monster; in other words, outrageous materials from B-movies, and used them to construct an interesting story.
Seven Cat Eyes shows these qualities of the writer in a splendid manner. On the surface, the anthology looks as though it has four separate stories but these stories are linked without any repetition. Not unlike pi (π) that helps define the Cartesian folium—and its decimal representation that never ends and never repeats but goes on infinitely—in this outrageous and appealing collection, reality and fantasy overlap and crisscross in endless permutations within a limited space. In the process, the identity of the characters, as well as the boundary between reality and fantasy, get dissolved in a stream of infinitely changing stories. Thus, this novel makes us realize that this world is hiding something from us; if not, we are concealing something from ourselves. Thus our life is essentially a mystery novel and we cannot take but one step outside of this folium.
Choi Jae-hoon (b.1973) made his literary debut when he won the new writer’s award from Literature and Society in 2007. His works include Baron Quirval’s Castle, Seven Cat Eyes, and From the Sleep of Babes.