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  • Author

    Kim Sagwa김사과

  • Publisher

    Munhakdongne Publishing Group문학동네

  • Year Published


  • Category

    Literary Fiction 순수소설

  • Target User

    Adult 성인

  • Period

    Contemporary 현대

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Description 작품 소개

Overwhelming fantasy, unbridled narrative 
Welcome to the island of delight, Jeju!

Kim Sagwa, renowned for her irresistible storytelling skills that leave her readers defenseless, turning pages without a moment to think, is back with her latest novel, Vacance. With a robust fan base, Kim has consistently presented a distinctive worldview, with each work more vivid than the last, a new pièce de résistance, expectations naturally follow, anticipating the emergence of a newer, startling addition to Korean literature.
Vacance unfolds a comic, cruel, and incredibly fantastical adventure as “K-office workers” on the brink of a pink slip, embark on a vacation to Jeju. The author bestows 100 billion won upon each of her characters, allowing her office workers to attain economic freedom for the first time in their lives. The novel hence attempts to answer the million-dollar question- can we be happy if we were to have more money than we ever wished for? Characters in the story, drowning in alcohol and drugs, head-to-toe in luxury goods, and screaming from behind the wheel of supercars, expose - quite satirically - modern individuals’ fantasies about wealth.
With meticulously crafted short and aesthetically tense mise-en-scènes, Vacance stands out as a work that proves that cinematic beauty can be found in literature. The novel’s reimagination of urban office spaces and the beautiful landscapes of Jeju as if clouded in madness is another of Kim Sagwa’s achievements. 
In this captivating setting, brutal crimes unfold, the ghosts of victims appear, the boundaries between reality and fantasy are inverted, and the truth shockingly tumbles out - there’s a thrill at every turn. To fully enjoy this ride, we simply need to surrender ourselves to this racing narrative.

A man and a woman, out of work, 
exiled to an eternal summer of pleasure in Jeju,
here the world is quickly turning red— 
a comedic, provocative, and cruel vacation begins.

Vacance introduces us to a new Jeju, now a tropical island due to climate change, and tells us the story of Iroa, a dedicated worker demoted at her workplace, the global financial consulting firm FWIS, after being found investing in stocks— pursuing her own little dream of economic freedom. Her boss, Lucas Wiseman, the head of FWIS Korea, is a character who personifies capitalism itself, a white businessman who quotes French literature and Hanja four-character idioms, so interested in showcasing his apparent open-mindedness, that he’d even agree with Iroa relating her fantasies of overhauling the system. But it is when Iroa begins growing her own personal wealth and is no longer as beaten and desperate at work, that he shows his true colors and coolly cuts her off.
Iroa staves off her deteriorating mental health with therapy and drugs, and against all odds, keeps her dedication alive, yet she is downgraded camouflaged as a promotion because she no longer dedicates her life entirely to the company. Yet luckily for Iroa, her instinctive investment sense brings her personal profits to 100 billion won, leading her to quit her job and embark on a luxurious vacation to Jeju. There, she becomes entangled with Shin Hae-nam, who, like herself, was deemed worthless by his workplace and dismissed.
As Iroa mingles with Shin Hae-nam's friends who run a business in Jeju, she discovers that the Jeju she fled to escape the shackles of capital is also slowly being eaten away by it, with development fast underway. She stays in state-of-the-art rooms of a luxurious resort yet struggles to sleep at night. One such night, she sees the apparition of a little girl. Not knowing whether this is a dream or reality, Iroa, along with Shin Hae-nam, heads in the direction indicated by the girl. There, they discover that the girl who appeared before Iroa the previous night lying as a cold corpse. Sensing foul play, Iroa decides to uncover the truth behind the girl’s death with Hae-nam. In a world where everyone blindly pursues their own interests, Iroa hopes to fill the emptiness in her heart by doing something for another person, a void never to be fulfilled by money. However, forces attempting to conceal the truth lurking on the island gradually approach Iroa, threatening her. And when she once again comes face to face with Lucas Wiseman, who is in Jeju as an investor, Iroa realizes that this all may have been a massive trap...
Vacance captures the reader's interest by expertly setting up the various fantasies of our current society, such as a reversal of fate through a successful stock trade, a slow leisurely lifestyle, and the carefree pursuit of pleasures. Kim Sagwa mixes sharp observation of contemporary realities with a powerful critique of the capitalist system and a poignant lament for the fate one cannot escape from within that system, through her signature style in yet another imaginative masterpiece. 

*MunhakDongne Play Series 
From books written to books drawn
A theme park of countless flavors created by the best domestic writers! 
Exciting, immersive, and unforgettable, 
A parade of well-made novels is soon to start!

The MunhakDongne Play Series, as implied by its very name, aims to be a literary carnival where reading novels can be a joyful experience, a subject of play. It embraces various genres to provide readers with the opportunity to enjoy literature as a form of entertainment. Carefully selecting sensitive and well-crafted novels that captivate with each scene, the series aims to bring literature to life through various media, allowing readers to experience it tangibly. In the future, the MunhakDongne Play Series is expected to be filled with outstanding works that marry fun and emotion together, in collaboration with writers loved both by critics and readers of the country alike.

■From the text:
“When Team Leader Jo began her story, all Iroa's could think of was the color of the sky at sunset on the Nusa Dua Beach southeast of Bali. Clouds, floating lazily like whipped cream, stained with neon pink and orange, lemon yellow, and electric purple, seemed to have been sprinkled with golden pearl powder. While burying her feet in the scorching sand, was it a real sunset she saw? Was it not a dreamlike rainbow-colored flock of sheep instead, could it truly be clouds? Or was it a fantasy created by her intoxicated mind thanks to one too many cocktails? The sun, swollen, sinking deep into the navy sea, shedding saffron teardrops, the surreal image of a beach with layers of shadows settling like a giant spiderweb, and the fantastical sight of gentle turquoise waves, more intoxicating than poison, were all right in front of her now. (…) The eternal sea that unfolded beneath the growing glowing sunset, and above all, the overwhelming sound of the waves, the rhythmic bopping of each upsurge, was truly hallucinatory... (Pages 9-10)

During the very brief lunch break when office workers briefly escape from their concentration camps, their mad screams and loud cries should be understood, Iroa thought. Because, after all, it's all about money. We are slaves to money... what amount of money is needed to escape from this digital cotton field of horrors? (Pages 30-31)

She didn't know if it was over. At the very least, there definitely was no longer a place for her at FWIS. And without FWIS, her life was essentially over. So theoretically, there was no more life left for her. She felt it was unfair. Isn't it strange? Even after being squeezed flat, with no more juice, there were yet emotions to feel. (Page 34)

She didn't believe in history, science, democracy, capitalism, communism, or even love. Simply, she was a person with pretensions piled high. Still, every living moment she was a dedicated and genuine white-collar worker of Seoul, living more sincerely than anyone else. If you turn this around and look deep into the inner workings of an average white-collar worker in Seoul, you might see them for the pretentious lunatics that they are. But you can see why that is, they are surrounded by a world which is unbelievably solipsistic. (Page 51)

The landscape was even more surrealistic. Bright moonlight illuminated the giant leaves of the Victoria water lilies floating in the serene lake. Looking at them quietly, it seemed that the leaves were also flying... Soon, in front of her eyes, the giant leaves slowly began to rise. Long flower stems shot out from between the leaves, and pure white buds bloomed. The tallest and largest among them lifted a giant flower and placed it in front of the full moon. The flower, emitting a dense exotic fragrance, slowly turned pink... (Page 208)

—Sure, I've lost it. Let's assume I’ve completely lost it. But have you ever wondered why? It's all because of them! Why don't you just get it? It's all because of those people! They were the ones who turned me crazy! So, obviously, they’re the ones who’re actually crazy. I'm telling you, they’ve always been nuts! (Page 286)


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Author Bio 작가 소개

Translator`s Expectations 기대평

There are no expectations.

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