Losing the Senses: Short Nap by the Roadside by Choi Suchol

  • onOctober 27, 2014
  • Vol.19 Spring 2013
  • byYi Soo-hyung
Short Nap by the Roadside

In the literary establishment of Korea, Choi Suchol is viewed as a Modernist Korean writer who has challenged the conventional mode of ordering events in a cause and effect narrative. In contrast, he poses fundamental philosophical questions about how what takes place outside of the self is felt and perceived; how a person’s sensibility and perceptions affect the consciousness; and how ultimately awareness and recollection are re-enacted by way of language.

In Choi’s new anthology of short stories Short Nap by the Roadside, he continues to ask similar questions, but this time, instead of stopping short of asking only questions, the author invites readers to seek the answer in their own lives.

“Pinocchios” tells a story about those who have lost all their senses, including their perception, and are therefore called Pinocchio, after the wooden puppet in the famous children’s novel.

In “Masters of Oblivion,” there are characters that practice the skill of obliterating their memories in order to deprive themselves of all recollections. The message delivered by the author in the stories “Pinocchios” and “Masters of Oblivion,” is how one should overcome skepticism about the senses and memories, and instead try to reclaim them no matter how painful and how much they are intermixed with misunderstanding and deception.

In “The Ventriloquist’s Love,” a character renounces the limited language of ventriloquism that fails to convey his complete self.

Short Nap by the Roadside is about the author’s persistent investigation into how one must confront somber subjects in order to unveil the superficiality of our reality. The author laudably presents the wisdom he attained through his long and arduous exploration. 

Author's Profile

Choi Suchol was born in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, in 1958. He completed a BA and MA in French Language and Literature at Seoul National University. He made his debut in 1981 when his short story “Blind Spot” won the Chosun Ilbo New Writer’s Contest. He is the author of several short story collections including A Castle in the AirMontage; and Short Nap by the Roadside, and the novels including In the Stomach of a WhaleAn Anarchist’s LoveCicadaPest; and Bed. He is also the recipient of the Yun Dong-ju Literary Award and Yi Sang Literary Award. Currently, he is a professor of creative writing at Hanshin University.