|Korean author Kim Ae-ran’s short story “I Go to the Convenience Store” received this year’s French literary award “Prix de Linapercu.” (Literature Translation Institute of Korea)|
The Prix de Linapercu, meaning “Prize for the Unnoticed,” is presented for work that received less attention than it deserves. Each year, a team of judges consisting of literary critics and journalists select two works for the prize, one French, the other non-French.
The story is about young poor Koreans in their 20s, dubbed the 880,000 won generation, and their struggle for survival. The 880,000 won generation are low-paid non-regular workers who earn about 880,000 won ($860) a month. The term was coined by a Korean economist in a 2007 book.
The piece revolves around a female college student who lives alone in her university neighborhood in Seoul. She regularly visits three convenience stores to buy items to alleviate her hunger, needs and sometimes loneliness. But gradually, she stops going to these stores when the owners start to notice her.
“I Go to the Convenience Store” is one of nine stories in Kim’s short story anthology “Run, Pop Run” published in Korea in 2005. Four short stories from “Run, Pop Run” were selected for this French translated version of the book.
“All four stories that make up this collection could not be summarized into a single theme. It illustrates depression, giddiness, precision and serenity,” said Nils C. Ahl, a literary critic for the French newspaper Le Monde. “This young Korean writer’s talent is controlled yet fully expressed in her piece, showing a good balance between Eastern and Western literature. “
This is the second time a Korean author has won the award. Shin Kyung-sook won in in 2009 for her novel “A Lone Room.”
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)