Author of famous novel “Please Look After Mom” Shin Kyung-sook said her new book “Moonlight Tales” came to her while on a break from writing long novels.
“Walking around at night alone I looked up in the sky, and there it was, a beautiful round moon. The look of it left a strong impression, and this is how the book was created,” Shin said at a press conference at Caf Comma 2 Page on Thursday.
In her new book the writer tried different approaches, moving away from long, often heavy stories she is famous for, and creating a patchwork of short, delightfully bright stories.
One of the lightest in tone released by the author so far, “Moonlight Tales,” released March 20, is a collection of 26 different short stories.
|Author Shin Kyungsook speaks during a press conference held at Café Comma 2 Page in Hongdae on Thursday. (Munhakdongn)|
“As I was looking at the moon the idea struck me hard that I wanted to write something light and delightful to read. Many people had asked me to write short stories, but I had never really tried.
“I believe that the moon itself is like a maternal figure ― you can talk to the moon and get comforted by its presence. With this new book I wanted to tell the moon how all things on earth glistened, and told their own personal stories,” Shin said.
Struck by the big, round moon, Shin created short stories that leave her audience smiling. Coming from a writer who is famous for heavy themes ― many of her characters leave readers in tears ― Shin’s new release shocked many literary critics.
|Shin Kyung-sook’s new novel “Moonlight Tales”|
Indeed, the novelist at the press conference was quite the opposite of tears and gloom. Bright and cheerful, she expressed how she enjoyed writing her latest collection.
“I had so much fun, the two years of writing it were not even a tiny bit stressful. I just hope that people read at those times when they want to give up ― it will bring out a big smile in anyone,” Shin said.
As Shin points out, “cheer” is, after all, what the book is about. Characters joke around and talk about the goodness in life and kindness. For example, in “Winter,” Shin talks about the inner goodness in humans and how people are naturally good-natured.
The protagonist in “Winter” expresses his feelings without fancy words: “I wanted to spend this winter with my cat alone. I did nothing but feed the cat some food. I did this because I liked the idea that I was doing something for the sake of others, I was merely comforted with the idea.”
“I do not think that cheery short stories lack depth and complexity. The content of the book was not forced. I wrote stories in the moment, I tried to catch, seize and enjoy small happenings in life that stirred in the very core,” Shin said.
Having returned from Shanghai on Tuesday, the author said she was already planning another book, a story of four different people coming together in one spot to find and share real love.
Her next novel is due out in April 2014.
“I started writing novels from the age of 22 and here I am, 50-years old and still writing. I hope to write novels all the way, but I also do plan to write short stories along the way. I hope they mirror each other to shine each other’s presence.”
The novelist rose to international stardom with “Please Look After Mom,” which was first published in Korea in 2009. The English version was released in 2011 and subsequently published in a total of 29 countries, winning her critical acclaim globally.
She has won numerous literary prizes at home and abroad, including the Man Asian Literary Prize and France’s Prix de L’Inapercu, as well as the Manhae Literature Prize, Dong-in Literature Prize, and Yi Sang Literary Prize.
“Literature was always very hard for me. It was something that humans can’t completely solve. While my previous novels expressed the weight and pain of life, ‘Moonlight Tales’ tells readers that cheerful thoughts are not as light as they seem,” Shin said.
By Bae Soo-min, Intern reporter