The Korea Herald


[New in Korean] How to survive in society full of violence and abuse

By Hwang Dong-hee

Published : Dec. 17, 2023 - 08:01

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"I'll Have the Night" by An Bo-yun (Munhakdongne Publishing)

"I'll Have the Night" (a literal translation of the Korean title)

By An Bo-yun

Munhakdongne Publishing

In her latest collection, "I’ll Have the Night,” An Bo-yun explores the theme of school violence in "A Way of Mourning," where the protagonist, Dong-joo, witnesses the death of his school bully, Seung-kyu.

Dong-joo has endured relentless bullying from Seung-kyu since elementary school. But when Seung-kyu dies in an abandoned building, Dong-joo, the only witness, becomes the prime suspect. Seung-kyu's mother then relentlessly pursues Dong-joo, demanding the truth, but he remains silent.

Now, 20 years old, Dong-joo takes a job at a restaurant. Seung-kyu's mother still continues to follow him, urging him to reveal the truth behind her son's death.

The harsh reality of being stalked by the mother of the bully is another torment to endure. The story tackles the weighty theme of school violence with ethical insight and intricate psychological portrayals, earning An the Lee Hyo-seok Literary Award in August.

An’s seven interconnected stories delve into the lives of those who have experienced profound suffering to the point of destruction of their everyday existence.

The narratives follow how these characters navigate their paths to the next phase of life -- a follower who chooses to remain in a religious cult even after losing faith, a sister who loses her job due to her brother who has a criminal record, and a daughter who must confront her trauma of being abused and negotiate on behalf of her mother is accused of child abuse at a daycare.

Each character stands at a crossroads, weighing their emotions and making pivotal decisions.