Ch’oe Yun Takes no Prisoners (Interview)

Ch’oe Yun

A really great interview with Ch’oe Yun from the Inevitable Dissident. The interview was done in 2008, when Yun’s “There a Petal Silently Falls,” was first published.

The Dissident notes:

“There a Petal Silently Falls,” the first volume of Ch’oe Yun’s fiction available in English (from Columbia University Press), is made up of a trio of tangy stories that dramatize the subtle links between public and private alienation

But it is Ch’oe’s attitude that rocks the interview. About ‘tradition’ she says:

Ch’oe Yun: I don’t really think that the three stories in “There a Petal Silently Falls” attempt to reconcile with tradition. Instead, each of them points out a direction or a conclusion contrary to a prevailing view in Korea. But to the generation of middle-aged Korean women writers like myself, tradition is something that has to be made anew rather than a point of reference that we have to return to.

Discussing the marginal status of many of her characters, she takes a swipe at the rather


patriarchal writing hierarchy/subject matter of Korean literature:

Because those are the people I focus on. I’ve never been interested in public heroes  –  male public heroes, that is. The history of Korean literature is full of such heroes; the rest of us tend to be sacrificed to their cause and end up in the shade, so to speak.

The interview is chock full of goodness, and if you’re a Ch’oe fan it is essential reading.