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Lee Mun-yeol Leaves for U.S.

Posted December. 27, 2005 03:02,   


As the writer Lee Mun-yeol prepared to depart for the U.S., he said, “It may take one or two years. However, I will come back to Korea. I don’t want to set an exact date and be held to it later.”

He was invited to the U.S. by the Korean Studies Department at the University of California, Berkeley. He will reside there as a guest writer and work on writing projects he has been putting off. “First of all, I will finish ‘Homo executans’ that I have been posting on an Internet website, ‘eNovelTown,’” he said.

The novel talks about human groups executing divine transcendental beings and has gained a lot of attention as a masterwork that can match his first successful work, “Son of a Man.” But, “Homo executants” has been left unfinished with its 16th installment being its most recent, since early last year due to the situation of ‘eNovelTown’ ever since its first serial publication in 2003.

Also, Lee said he will put the finishing touches on plotting out the sequel to his only saga, “The Border,” which has a total of 12 volumes and start writing it before long. According to him, the sequel will be another saga dealing with the 1980s, but, unlike “The Border,” it will be about politics, society and culture and consist of a trilogy as a separate novel.

“Myung-hun and his brothers will appear again (who were in ‘The Border’).” Myung-hun’s son, who becomes a student activist, meets Myung-hun’s brother-in-law and takes part in a social movement. Young-hui, a foreigners’ whore, dabbles in real-estate speculation and the cultural world, and the literary world, especially, will be introduced through the eyes of In-cheol who has become a writer.

This work, “The Border,” may become the zenith of all his works.

Meanwhile, when this correspondent visited his house in Icheon City, Gyeonggi Province, the “Bu-ak literary circle” that shared the same garden in his house was empty, as would-be literary men who contributed to a literary contest in spring have gone home. He was packing his trunk with a Chinese dictionary, a Chinese history book, another historical book and a book in Chinese for the purpose of writing his serial in Dong-A Ilbo titled “After a Big Wind and Cloud,” and his second son and his wife bought a rice cooker and blender for him. Lee will go to the U.S. with his wife and asked for a small house with two rooms there.

When asked whether he thinks his reputation or works have more chances to become international, he said, “I don’t have that in mind. I mean it. I think literature should be accepted naturally, and it cannot be loved just by holding a campaign.”

Lee stayed in Britain for about two months two years ago, but this is the first time for him to stay abroad for a long period.

Ki-Tae Kwon kkt@donga.com