[Short Fiction Series 5]
Better known as a novelist, Choe In-ho has also written strikingly original shorter fictions, of which the stories reprinted here are good examples. “Deep Blue Night” is an autobiographical story that is both contemporary in being structured about a highway journey and yet traditional in its themes of exile, wandering, and retrospection. Of interest to an English-speaking audience are the California setting and the protagonist's observations on American and Korean-American life. “The Poplar Tree” is one of a trio of stories, Strange Folk, that are reminiscent of Choe's signature stories The Boozer and Another Man’s Room, which likewise blur the boundaries between fantasy and reality. It may be read as a coming-of-age story, a fable of hero worship and shattered illusions, or an example of magical realism, with its blend of vivid detail and playful metaphysical speculation.