Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Must Read story

I just read an utterly unique and mesmerizing story in winter 2007/2008 Hayden's Ferry Review. Conviction by Ch'oe Such' ol, a Korean writer with 50 works published in his native land, though this is the first to be translated (why? How many versions of The Inferno do we need at the expense of fine literature left untranslated?) Somewhat Kafkaesque but dodging the oft-muddied trap of sounding like him, Conviction also dodges the increasingly-traditional form of magical realism, with a perfectly executed, non-chrononlogical storyline with no direct dialogue, as a middle-aged man with a physical fear of water tries to rid himself of this by living on an island, where he loses himself within himself, spiraling tensely yet undramatically, rather humanly, into oblivion. It vaguely reminded me of Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles, though also Camus and Sartre. I loved it so much I contacted the translator after unsuccessfully researching the author. Apparently this is it in English, but it's very well worth the Review (or borrowing it from me).

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