(Random) SONG OF THE DAY
Lee Soo Young – “혼자 짖는 미소” (Smiling to myself). Personally, I think Lee Soo Young’s voice is a bit of an acquired taste. But she seems like a cool person with an awesome(ly wicked) personality — just my kind of girl. And although she’s known for her somewhat epic, grandiose balladry (and they are very pretty), I kinda prefer this kind of sound. [ zShare download ]
I just checked, and you can buy the novel from Hanbooks.com. Please note this book is ENTIRELY in Korean.
However, thanks to fishsoup for noting that there is a kind soul on these multi-tubed internets who is graciously providing full translations of the novel on this Xanga site. S/he doesn’t have an online moniker so I don’t know whom to thank, but go check it out. I always enjoy reading other people’s translations because it makes me more conscious of my own, and how to translate better, faithfully and yet poetically. S/he’s got the prologue and about half of Chapter 1 posted so far. That’ll be great because I just don’t have the time or energy to tackle a full translation.
I want to get through Chapter 3 relatively quickly because there are some cute moments between Eun Chan and Han Gyul in Chapter 4…
CHAPTER 3: “ISN’T THIS A SCAMMER’S SET-UP?”
First off, Eun Chan’s mother loses a 2 karat diamond ring of a friend when she tried it on briefly — the friend was called away from the meeting in a hurry, the mother didn’t have a chance to return the ring, and somehow, somewhere, lost it.
As a result, the family’s thrown into panic over what to do over such a large debt. With nothing else of value, Eun Chan’s mother considers selling her beautiful mink coat — the last remaining gift from Eun Chan’s father from better-off, bygone days. Eun Chan can’t allow that, however — her mother has already sold off all of the other items of value (jewelry, handbags) given to her by her husband. It made him happy to give his wife the mink — when she wore it, he felt at last he was able to fulfill his promise to treat her to luxury.
Eun Chan recalls her father’s death — injured in a car accident, she was by his side at the hospital, when he took her hand in his own bloodstained ones and asked her to promise to look after her mother and sister, as the new head of the household, so he can die in peace. (Might be a nice dad, but it’s kind of a dick move, isn’t it? Way to leave a soul-crushing burden on a loved one as you die just to ease your last few seconds of life. Her father otherwise gives no indication of being anything less than a lovely man, but I didn’t like this about him.)
Meanwhile, I don’t like Yu Ju here either, although my dislike of her is starting to wane (mostly cause I don’t care). But consider that her very first reaction after being mugged by Min Yub is:
“My handbag! I got that in Paris… what a waste.”
Still, we get a small sense of her and Han Gyul’s connection — they met when he was eight and she was ten.
At that time, if you’d asked Han Gyul what he hated most in the world, he would’ve said milk, piano, and his father. He was made to drink milk even though he insisted he was fine not growing any taller, and he hated being forced to play the piano even though he said he didn’t want to become a pianist. And most of all, he hated his father, who imposed his will on him. That day, his father had punished him for pouring milk over the piano he’d played for two years. Just then, a customer arrived, and he ran to his room in embarrassment. He was so ashamed, he couldn’t stop crying. At that moment, seeing Han Gyul, Yu Ju, who was tall, long-haired and played the piano well, entered.
“Hey, do you want to be my kid brother [dongsaeng]?”
What a strange girl, he thought.
Despite this somewhat sympathetic background info, I find the novel version of Han Gyul kind of assy. It’s amazing what casting does — the drama version of Han Gyul is supposed to be cold and inflexible too, but seeing an actor’s living, breathing interpretation of a character makes him more accessible. Sympathetic.
For instance, after Eun Chan goes out of her way to help Yu Ju in her purse-snatching incident (before finding out it’s Min Yub), instead of any gratitude or even civility, Han Gyul insults her scooter with a sneer:
“In what arts and crafts store do they sell these? … Do they even bother to repair these?”
Futhermore, he doesn’t actually see Eun Chan and Min Yub collude to steal the purse — he just makes that assumption because it seems possible. In order to trap Eun Chan, he promises her/him a hefty reward for her good services, and gives her his number (scrawled on the back of the photo of his prospective blind date, showing just what he thinks of that). He tells her to call, and although Eun Chan tries to turn him down, he dangles the promise of an offer she can’t refuse — an entire month’s salary.
Eun Chan would dearly love to throw his arrogant offer back in his face, but she looks at her mother’s mink, thinks of the ring, and swallows her pride to call Han Gyul. Han Gyul then has the audacity to be surprised she actually called, saying he didn’t think she would.
He directs her to his hotel: Room S11.
/end Chapter 3.