#Interview by literary critic Jeon So-yeong
Yun is a writer who consistently wrote about discovering individual self ever since his debut. He has shown in his works his journey to find himself, hoping that each of us would find his or her true, original nature that has been lost over time or forgotten in real life. “The Love of Dunhuang” illustrates Yun Hu-myong’s inescapable destiny as a novelist and poet.
The lion he has been dreaming of is the lion from the Gangnyeong mask dance, and the lion from Silla’s lion dance, and the lion from the ancient murals of Dunhuang. Yun finally met the actual lion after a long journey that took him across time and space.
It was a moonlit night. A lion is heading toward the moonlit desert far away. It drags its heavy body and climbs up the dunes silently. Its steps are very slow.
The lion heedlessly takes one step after another with its four feet. The footsteps are erased in the sand. When the moon shines even brighter, the moonlight adheres to the whole body, like a tooth crowned in silver with glue. Not a single light flickers until the end of the boundless horizon.
The desert of time is also endless. The lion keeps its eyes on its feet as it takes one step after another.
Did it pass Loulan? Did it pass Dunhuang?
먼 달빛의 사막으로 사자 한 마리가 가고 있다.
무거운 몸뚱아리를 이끌고 모래언덕을 소리 없이 오르내린다.
매우 느린 걸음이다.
사자는 아랑곳없이 네 발만 차례차례 떼어놓는다.
발자국도 모래에 묻힌다.
달이 더 화안히 밝자, 달빛이 아교에 이긴 은니처럼 온 몸에 끈끈하게 입혀진다.
막막한 지평선 끝까지 불빛 한 점 반짝이지 않는다.
시간의 사막 역시 끝간데가 없다.
사자는 발밑만 내려다보며 걸음을 옮겨 놓을 뿐이다.
#Interview by Korean literature professor Bang Min-ho of Seoul National University
The last passage, where the lion walks toward the moonlit desert, where the lion passes Loulan and Dunhuang, going on an endless journey is the highlight of the story. The main character is dreaming of becoming a lion himself and of a liberated lion traveling over the desert. This may be a fantasy, but, when asked, “How should we live our lives?” the writer answers that we should live our lives as the lion did at the end of his story.
Yun Hu-myong: Yun Hu-myong debuted as a poet when his poem “Bird of Glacier” won the Kyonghyang Shinmun Literature Prize in 1967. In 1979 he was awarded the Hankook Ilbo Literature Prize for his novel, setting him on the career path of a poet and novelist.
His “The Love of Dunhuang” is applauded as a novella that depicts the melancholy and despair of the contemporaries through its poetic atmosphere and beautifully sensual narratives.