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[New in Korean] Memory and insomnia echo through 'Seasons of Its Own'

By Hwang Dong-hee

Published : June 9, 2023 - 09:01

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"Seasons of Its Own" by Kwon Yeo-sun (Munhakdongne Publishing)

"Seasons of Its Own"

By Kwon Yeo-sun

Munhakdongne Publishing

Several years ago, Kwon Yeo-sun, residing at a writers’ residence in Wonju, Gangwon Province, overheard a memorable dialogue between a fellow writer and the residence’s security guard.

“Where could such a large bug (referring to a deer beetle) possibly come in?” After contemplating for a moment, the security guard said, “Bugs can come in from anywhere.”

The exchange amused Kwon so much that she took notes and began fueling her creation of imaginative question-and-answer scenarios. When she was later writing a story about four friends, this dialogue -- which Kwon named "Deer Beetle Interrogation" -- inspired the storyline and the title of the short story.

“Deer Beetle Interrogation” centers around four friends who were once closely bonded but eventually went their separate ways -- the charismatic leader Bu-young, the disciple and courteous Gyeong-a, the kind and cautious Jeong-won, and the spontaneous and liquor-loving Jun-hee.

Their relationships become strained after moving to different places, particularly due to Jeong-won's sudden suicide and Gyeong-a's betrayal. As the characters’ relationships and circumstances evolve, the meaning and nuances of the "Deer Beetle Interrogation" subtly transform, hinting at the gradual deterioration of their friendships.

Kwon has collated six other short stories published between 2018 and 2022, forming her seventh short story collection. The characters in "Seasons of Its Own" grapple with their own problematic relationships.

The themes of “memory” and “insomnia” run through the book, while the weight of past regrets haunt them. Just as each season requires its own unique strength, life also demands different strengths at each stage, Kwon said.