With its strong plot and descriptions, this Joseon dynasty story of Yeogunja and Pusil going beyond discrimination and custom is sure to touch readers.
- Book Intro
If the door is shut, you can climb over a wall, can't you?
It's during the Joseon Dynasty, and there has been a bad harvest. Pusil who was born to the eldest daughter of a poor family, picks up a book titled The Biography of Yeogun by chance. She starts to learn her letters and become aware of the world after meeting Lady Hyojin. Yeogun, a virtual figure in the book created by the writer, is described through Pusil, who bravely faces class and position, gender, and discrimination, in a powerful yet touching way. Through the message that we must approach walls without hesitation, this book encourages us in the present to take a bold attitude toward the world.
"Is the life of a woman worth the same as that of a man? Being born as a woman is a sin." - from the text
Pusil's family manages to live off of a porridge made from boiled grassroots and pine bark. But Pusil and her mother have to share the porridge with her father and brother, Gwison. Gwison is seven years old, but when he is sick, he hogs mom's breast milk which should go to the youngest baby, born six months ago. Pusil feels sorry for her youngest sister who does not even have a name. Moreover, when her mother leaves to work for a "yangban" family as a wet nurse to earn medical expenses for Gwison, she has to take care of the baby. Lady Hyojin asks Pusil if the situation is hard and Pusil replies, "Yes, it's hard. But I don't resent it." Pusil's thinks that a mind of resentment is a firmer barrier than the wall of discrimination and custom she faces.
"Do you want go ahead?"
"I just want to save the child."
"I don't know if that is going forward." - from the text
"Gunja (virtuous person)" was a title only for well-behaved, righteous, virtuous, and highly learned man. By putting that title, which had only been used for men, to a woman, breaking taboo, the unknown writer of The Biography of Yeogun encourages Pusil to overcome the adversity she faces.
- About the Author
A Child Who Climbed over a Wall is Kim Jeongmin (M)'s first book. The writer received the 25th Golden Goblin Award and was supported by Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture.
Lee Yeonghwan (M) graduated from the Department of Comics & Animation at Sejong University and now works as illustrator. He has written and illustrated Lonely Bear, and illustrated Ship-Turned Library, Three Classic Children's Stories -You Will Want to Read Even After 100 Years, Is My Relationship OK?, and Forest of 151 Monsters.exe.
BIR Publishing, 2019, Golden Goblin Award