Life on the Edge and Other Juxtaposed Miracles"I was ambivalent to write the story at first. Considering that we live in a time when the term 'post-modern' intervenes in every other sentence of our discussions, I felt the subject was bit obsolete," said Cho Sung-ki(49) the author of the new book "The Beautiful Days of Chong-hee." Having debuted and won the prestigious Today's Author Awards with his first book "Lahat Haherap," Cho has been dealing with cultural-specific issues with a touch of Eastern classics ever since.
Divided into three chapters, "The beautiful Days of Chong-hee", "The Sad Days of Chong-hee" and "The Tragic Days of Tartarian," the book is based on a story of the woman who was the landlady of the house the author once lived in. Brought up in a wealthy family prior to the war, the heroine frequently told the author stories about her turbulent life.
After spending a few months at a refugee camp, she fled to Pusan and found work as a baker and then as a quilter in order to earn money for college tuition, but failed to succeed. Her money got stolen by people close her.
In between dramatic plots, the author nonchalantly inserts political events happening in Korea around that time. Though events like the red invasion symbolize one of the most critical moments in Korean history, Cho only treats them as part of the memories the heroine recollects, a "golden mass of memories disappearing," as the author calls it.
Adding a twist to the storyline, the author presents the last chapter, "The Tragic Days of Tartarian," as a bit of unexpected composition. Within the same chapter, Cho writes the story of a wealthy Korean-American who wishes to make her daughter a top entertainer, and a story of a Tarantula ― a poisonous spider ― feasting on her mates. By juxtaposing these extreme examples episodes to Chong-hee's story, the author metaphorizes the essence of human existence. As a result, the book presents a fine mixture of straight forward narrations and experimental writings.
Cho decided to publish the book when he saw the reunification of the separated North and South Korean families last Independence Day.