by Lee Chang-dong
translated from the Korean by Heinz Insu Fenkl and Yoosup Chang
from the March 6, 2023 issue of The New Yorker
I have heard of Lee Chang-dong because of his filmmaking. He was the director of 2007’s Secret Sunshine, which he also wrote, which is a beautiful and emotionally tough film you can get from The Criterion Collection. I did not know he was also a writer of novels and short stories.
Interestingly, this story was originally published in South Korea back in 1987, though this translation is recent. I’m not sure if it is part of a publishing project meant to bring us more of his stories.
Here is how “Snowy Day” begins:
The guard on duty blocked the woman with his M16. She was slender, one shoulder slanted down as if the suitcase she carried in her hand were too heavy for her. As she spoke to him, the steam of her breath rose up in the cold air.
The window of the guard post, which stood like a little tower at the entrance to the base, snapped open. “Hey, what’s she saying?” a staff sergeant called out. “Send her in.”
I hope everyone is having a good end February / start of March. I look forward to reading the story and hearing your thoughts!
Secret Sunshine is a gem of a film.