Author: KIM Hun and others
Publisher: Munhak Sasangsa, Inc.
Pub. Date: January 2004
Format: 223 X 152 mm
Softcover: 371 pages
"Hwajang" (2004 Yi Sang Literature Awards Collection)
The collection of the 2004 Yi Sang Literature Award-winning stories has been finally released. The annually published LEE Sang Literature Award Collection consists of short and medium-length stories which are evaluated as the best among a host of literary applicants every year. Since its inception in 1977, the annual literary prize has established itself as the most prestigious one of its kind due both to fairness in the screening process and quality of the selected works.
This year's collection is titled "Hwajang" named after the first person story by KIM Hun that garnered the author the first prize. "Hwajang" starts with the scene that a wife, having suffered from brain tumor, dies. The speaker "I," the managing director for a cosmetics company, performs a funeral service for his deceased wife but in his stream of consciousness has a bundle of pending issues: he is yet to receive treatment for prostatitis, keeps love for another lady, and has to carry out the order of the company president to participate in the important marketing strategy meeting, among others.
"Hwajang," in Chinese, has ironically the dual meaning of "make up" and "cremation." Such a connotation, critics say, conveys the delicate psychology of a middle-aged man who loves two women simultaneously.
Kim Hun has been critically acclaimed as a writer who is dexterous in depicting - either dramatically or lyrically ?the socially abandoned people of the contemporary times in his own style.
Having earned the unanimous votes from the judges, "Hwajang" coldly and precisely searches for the meaning of the existence of humans who live in this age and feel the heaviness and lightness of being. Other successful entries in the recently published collection include "Night Passes" by Gu Hyo-seo, "Time for Baking a Mud Pie" by Kim Seung-hui, "A Shadow Child" by Ha Seong-ran, and "Thank you, Raccoon" by Park Min-gyu.