In this book, Kwon Yeo-sun depicts the grief in life with succinct and chilly sentences that capture the incomprehensible yet hardly forgettable scenes of life.
- Book Intro
Kwon’s characters face fatal diseases even when it seems like there will their misfortune will finally be coming to an end. They go through their dreary lives with love while relying on one another for support, waiting for the inevitable upcoming separation waiting for them at death's door.
Those who never surrender to life can be found in “Aunt” as well. In this short story, the aunt lives alone in a small apartment located on the outskirts of Ansan, without television, a computer, and even a cell phone. She has saved 150 million won for five years before she left her family, who had only exploited her, and spent 100 million for a deposit on her apartment. She decided to live without doing anything and to simply spend the rest 50 million won before she died of pancreatic cancer in two years.
The life she has led for the last two years followed a fairly tight routine. She has a quick breakfast and goes to the library at around 10 p.m. She carries writing instruments, her wallet, keys, and a water bottle filled with barley tea in her backpack. Upon arriving at the library, she takes a book from the bookshelf and spends a large portion of her day reading it. She returns home at around 2 p.m. to have lunch, goes back to the library, and reads the book until the library closes at 6 p.m. When she hasn't finished the book by that time, she borrows it, returns home, has dinner, and reads the rest before going to sleep. (pp. 83-84)
In Hello, Alcoholics, there are many scenes in which characters drink alcohol. The reasons they drink are all different. Some drink habitually and some others drink to endure something. One of the interesting scenes is when the protagonist Yeonggyeong in “Spring Night,” who becomes addicted to alcohol after losing her child, gets drunk and recites a poem by Kim Suyeong loudly. Kwon Yeo-sun skillfully depicts the despair of those who hit rock bottom and their behaviors under the influence of alcohol, capturing the internal state of “alcoholics” who seem to collapse in a minute.
- About the Author
Kwon Yeoseon began her literary career in 1996 by winning the 2nd Sangsang Literary Award with her novel, Niche of Green. Her works include the short story collections, The Maiden’s Skirt, The Days of Pink Bows, The Red Fruit in My Garden, The Forest of Nutmeg Trees, and Hello Drunkard; the full-length novels, Legato and The House of Clay; and the books of essays on food, What to Eat Today? She has received the Hankook Ilbo Literary Award, the Dongri Literary Award, the Dongin Literary Award, and the Yi Hyoseok Literary Award.
Chosun Ilbo, 2016, Dongin Literary Award