The Korea Herald


[New in Korean] Woman's writing embraces her past and pain

By Hwang Dong-hee

Published : Dec. 17, 2023 - 12:01

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"Seasons Are Short, Memories Last" by Lee Ju-hye (Changbi Publishers)

"Seasons Are Short, Memories Last" (a literal translation of the Korean title)

By Lee Ju-hye

Changbi Publishers

The story begins with a woman choosing the cathartic path of writing as a means of navigating and overcoming the painful reality that life has thrust upon her.

Approaching her 50s, the narrator's world shatters when she discovers that her husband is stalking a female colleague. But her husband says he is not ashamed of his actions because they were sincere. Deeply hurt, they go into separation seeking divorce, and their daughter who was closer to her father than her mother, slowly drifts apart.

Amid the emotional crisis, the woman's psychiatrist suggests keeping a diary, because it would help “to look at your life from a distance.”

Initially skeptical of the advice, she reluctantly decides to give it a try when she stumbles upon a writing class at a nearby indie bookstore. The advertisement reads, “By writing, you meet. And when you meet, you can finally part ways.”

After several futile attempts to write with “I,” the narrator chooses the persona of “S” and delves into a profound exploration of her inner self, unraveling the layers of bare untold stories and painful childhood memories.

As the protagonist navigates this transformative journey through writing, the novel captures the psychological process of confronting and overcoming deep-seated wounds, which reads as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.