The Korea Herald


[New in Korean] Award-winning ‘Tank’ explores faith, belief through cinematic storytelling

By Hwang Dong-hee

Published : Aug. 5, 2023 - 18:00

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"The Tank" by Kim Hee-jae (Hankyoreh Publishing)

"The Tank"

By Kim Hee-jae

Hankyoreh Publishing

A debut novel by Kim Hee-jae, “Tank,” won the 28th Hankyoreh Literary Award with a gripping, speedy narrative, according to the Hankyoreh Publishing.

At the core of the novel lies a unique concept called the “autonomous prayer system,” which is a space that exists without a religious leader or doctrines. The tank is an empty container -- a prayer room of about 5 pyeong or 16.5 square meters -- standing on a hill in a quiet village. It promises a miraculous experience that follows the simple creed of “believe, pray and the best thing will come to you.”

When a forest fire breaks out near the tank’s sacred zone, a man dies inside the tank engulfed in flames.

The question arises: Why was this man, who believed and prayed earnestly for his dream and future, dealt such a fate?

The book delves into the struggles of individuals to survive, the meaning of religion and self-reflection. The narrative follows different voices of the people who witnessed the incident at the tank on “that day” and the aftermath experienced by those left behind.

The gradual revelation of the entire narrative coupled with thrilling transitions keeps readers engrossed, much like watching a thriller movie. Author Kim, who majored in film studies, has been a mixing engineer for over 10 years.