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Vol.55 Spring 2022

It seems obvious to the point of banality to say that humans do not exist in a vacuum. From the moment of our birth to our final days on Earth, we come across numerous people in our lives. Because relationships are so integral to all existence, reflecting on relationships is not simply an act of moral concern, but an existential imperative. 

While the traditional concept and meaning of the family is constantly evolving, it is the family from which most of us gain our first understanding of the workings of interpersonal relationships. Across the world, the most primitive forms of stories told were about the family. Our minds and bodies were bestowed to us not only by our parents, but by a long successive line of ancestors who have imprinted their DNA on us. To read and write about families is to reflect upon how we must engage with not only our blood relatives, but with our own past and future. 

The Special Section in this Spring 2022 issue of KLN explores female genealogy. In Korean modern and contemporary fiction, male-oriented family narratives, symbolized by the noticeable absence of the father figure, were largely mainstream. Lately, however, family narratives that give due consideration to the female genealogy have made their presence known. The literary critic Kim Yo-Sub delves into the significance behind this development. His critique that “the history of women is not a prop from an unseen past or a forgotten time but a shining legacy that younger generations can trust and lean on” leaves a lasting impression. 

This issue also features the novelist Kim Soom, a writer who seeks to pioneer new frontiers in historical narratives with her fiction. Kim was interviewed by her colleague and fellow writer Cho Hae-jin in a tête-à-tête that sparkles with their combined wit and charm. Together with the interview, this issue also includes an excerpt of Kim’s short story Padoreul manjineun namja (“The Man Who Touches Waves”). The full story can be read on the KLN website; we encourage our readers to enjoy the story in its entirety. 

The Bookmark Section features the short story Yeojaga jihacheol hal ttae (“When a Woman Subways”) by the young writer Lee Misang. The story, in its original Korean, is chock full of freewheeling word play and creatively wrought expressions in the Korean language; we expect that its translated version will offer new delights to our readers. 

We send our best wishes to the newly emerged family narratives in contemporary Korean fiction that have been brought to the fore by the changes in our era. The female genealogy—and the stories of women—will certainly be the new future of family narratives.


 

Kim Mi Jung
KLN Editorial Board Member
 
Translated by Amber Hyun Jung Kim
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