Choi Jinyoung’s Gu’s Proof is a heart-moving novel written with beautiful sentences, which questions the meaning of life or the meaning of death through the death of a lover and the subsequent feelings of loss and condolences.
- Book Intro
(English) Gu's Proof
Gu and Dam, the main characters of this novel, are a couple probably brought together by destiny. But they seem to have strayed apart. Just like a circular letter, they rotate along a circle, while being tied to each other forever. Though they sometimes move at different speeds affected by unexpected events that shatter their world, they are destined to come across each other as the two dots on the curve of life move along the same orbit. Some may say that this kind of relationship is brutal, or some may say that it is perfect love. Yet unfortunately, a tragedy suddenly befalls them: the death of a lover, the undeniable end of life. Gu’s Proof begins with this tragedy. Dam finds her lover Gu’s body and acknowledges that the flame of their love is extinguished.
She speaks to him who is lying dead on the streets, and her voice is filled with loneliness that only those stricken with grief can have. Her eyes lose focus and seem to gaze at the landscape of unreality, not reality. But in the meantime, she eats. She starts to nibble the flesh of the dead body.
Though the novel is a present-tense account, time seems to stop upon the death of Gu, and the narration of Dam’s monologue all comes from memories that she shared with Gu. Then the story slowly goes back to the past when they were together. Eating the lover’s body, Dam stays in the past. For her, eating him would mean eating the time of his life, swallowing their past whole. It would mean a ritual. It would mean courtesy the living extend to the dead. Dam holds a ritual for Gu by eating his body. Tragedy is not something one can prevent. Tragedy is something that has its roots in the essence. And that is why Dam has no other option but to believe in the meaning of the ritual that she’s been performing. She swallows Gu’s body to keep him within her body. To make him alive within her body.
- About the Author
(English) Choi Jin-young was born in 1981. She began her career as a writer in 2006 when she won Silcheon Munhak New Writer Award. Her works include the short story collection The Top and the novels The Name of the Girl Who Brushed Past You Is…, The Never-Ending Song, Why Did I Not Die, The Proof of Ku, and To the Warm Horizon. She is the winner of the 2010 Hankoreh Literary Award and 2014 Shin Dong-yup Prize for Literature.