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Busan Biennale 2020


KIM Un-su The Seal Inn

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관리자 2020-09-15 18:19

 

The Seal Inn

Sureh wakes up 2am in the morning, slightly anxious about his deal-making set in a few hours. He observes the surroundings for a while; the Nam-hangdong neighborhood Alley. It is raining. The smell of the rotting fish and the sound of hammering fills the alley, which takes him back to the memories of his first days on a deep-sea fishing vessel, where he learned to do KangKangEE (hammering the ship to remove rust). The men who taught him KangKangEE is Granddaddy Cho, who was from North Korea. He left his young wife to earn money on a Japanese shark hunting vessel for two years, but the life on board continued for 10 years, and at the end the Japanese ship-owner tricked him into joining the Pacific War. When he returned from the Pacific War, the Korean War happened, and the line was drawn across the North and South. It has been 40 years since he left his hometown and his wife. Sureh inhaled the cigarettes. Through the cigarettes he could smell paint,oil, those typical of the harbor. Then he spots two sailors smoking in the rain under the streetlamp, waiting for their life to the ship. The younger sailor is still drunk, mistakes Sureh as the Inn keeper and picks a fight. The nickname of the Alley they were standing at was Swindlers Alley. Pub hostess who lived o汪 of sailors, gangsters and pimps who lived off of the hostesses, and the civil servants, customs, and police who lived off of the gangsters and pimps. Just like the ecosystem of small fish, big fish, bigger fish, and a really big fish. This Alley was full of inns, pubs, cafes which targeted the sailors who came with money and nostalgia in their wallets. Amongst the inns, the most notorious for ripping off sailors was The Seal Inn. However the Inn was always full of both young and old sailors, as it was the most generous with bar tabs; sailors did not have much money until they were paid, and it always took awhile. Sailors leave, and Sureh ponders upon the deal making soon to happen. Hwang has fought and survived many wars to protect the gold mine of Surehs grandads, so if he reckons 5 is enough, it should be enough. It was 2:40 am. Time was ticking slow. He sees the bottle of Royal Salute, which was given to him by Donkey, who sells the smuggled goods from the US Army at the Gukje Market. Sureh hesitated for a moment, then poured a glass. It would not be wise to be drunk today, but he was craving it badly. Sureh poured another glass. Seeing the glass full relieved him a little. Ironic that he feels relief, when this glass of drink could possibly kill him today. He emptied the glass. The deal will take place an hour later. If he was drunk, he could die. However, after three glasses of whiskey, he felt like nothing really mattered. Living or dying, does it really matter? Then he fell asleep.

KIM Un-su, Novelist
KIM Un-su is a novelist born in Busan, Korea in 1972. He has published the fulllength novels The Cabinet, The Plotters, and Hot Blood and a collection of short stories, Jab. His novels have been translated into several languages and published in 20 countries including, the United States, France, Germany, Russia, and Japan. Hot Blood has been made into a film and The Plotters is currently being made into a film in Korea and Hollywood.

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KIM Un-su The Seal Inn

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