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Gong Ji-young Releases New Novel Online

2008/12/05 Source

By Chung Ah-young
Staff Reporter

If you are waiting for a new novel by celebrated novelist Gong Ji-young, just go online instead of rushing to a bookstore.

Gong has launched her new novel, "Silenced" on Daum, one of the nation's major portals, along with other prominent authors like Lee Ki-ho and Ham Min-bok.

Gong's new novel is based on the sexual assault incident at Gwangju Inhwa School, a special school for deaf students, in which educational workers continuously sexually harassed disabled students in 2005.

The novel's title was taken from Arthur Miller's "Silenced", based on the real events leading up to "witch trials" in the small puritan town of Salem, Massachusetts in 1692, portraying the event as an allegory for

Lee Ki-ho has also started the Internet serial novel "Apology is Easy".
McCarthyism, an intense anti-communist craze that swept the U.S. in the wake of World War II.

Gong said that the novel portrays the cruelty of a group in which individual conscience is often tarnished by social tyranny.

"A few year ago, there was an incident in which educational workers sexually assaulted their students. But a teacher who divulged the incident was driven to the wall. He was a social hero but ostracized within the group", Gong said.

Set in Mujin, a fictional historical city where progressive and conservative values are in conflict, the story revolves around a school for deaf children, collective sexual violence against them and hypocrisy.

The novel explores the school's handling of the revelation of the sexual assaults, in which the affluent of society involved in the attempt to conceal it and helpless victims fight for the truth.

The story accuses those who have power and money of trampling on the less fortunate.

The 45-year-old writer, who was a student activist in the 1980s, was a best-selling author in the 1990s through her candid and sensible writing style in such novels as "Go It Alone Like the Rhinoceros Horn", and "Mackerel".

It is her first Internet novel available on Daum (Open the link). It was posted from Nov. 27 and will run for six months.

Author Lee Ki-ho has also started writing the Internet serial novel "Apology is Easy", dealing with questions of guilt and consciousness in different forms each issue. Poet Ham Min-bok will release essays this month.

The Internet service offers representative poems of 70 local poets to mark the 55th anniversary of Korean modern literature.

Every page of the site has contributions from celebrated cartoonists such as Choi Kyu-sok and Hyun Tae-jun to catch the readers' eyes.

The service is designed to form a decent book reading culture on the Internet for people who have little time for reading books due to widespread Internet culture.

Daum said the service is intended to be a communication channel between readers and authors and not just a provider of texts.

A readers' opinion board and fan letter corner are available on the site.

"The portal sites have evolved from the basic functions of information sharing to a cultural space for Internet users. This service is expected to become a new attempt to connect Korean literature trends to Internet culture and offer more opportunity for diverse cultural activities to users", Kim Jin-a, media team manager of the portal company, said.

The serial novels, written by Gong and Lee, are updated every weekday. The 70 top poems series is updated every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Poet Ham's essays are updated every Thursday. Gong's "Keys" is also online.

The on-line literature service is seen as part of the recent trend of the nation's top writers rushing to cyberspace to release their heavy-themed novels before releasing them as hard copies.

Rising author Jeong I-hyeon, famous for her previous work, "My Sweet Seoul", is posting her new novel, "You Don't Know", on the Kyobo Bookstore Web site from Aug. 1. Veteran novelist Park Bum-shin posted his latest novel, "Cholatse", on Naver last year. Later, Hwang Seok-young put his new serial novel, "Gaebapbaragibyeol", which means "Venus" in Korean, on the same portal.

According to Prunsoop Publishing, more than 30,000 copies of "Cholatse" have been sold. The publisher said that it is quite encouraging given the current climate in the publishing industry, where it's difficult to sell just 10,000 copies of a local novel.

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