[Short Fiction Series 15]
“Rust” is the story of a man who aspires to become a journalist only to lose the job to someone with good connections at the newspaper. He ends up working for a magazine selling advertising. He is under constant pressure not only to sell more accounts, but also to maintain an outwardly affluent, middle-class lifestyle. The protagonist’s obsessed efforts to remove the rust which continually appears on various objects around his home represent his struggle to keep at bay the desperation and despair slowly creeping into his life.
“Swamp” is the story of the tragic fate that consumes one man’s life. The conflict centers around a middle school history teacher who is picked up by the state intelligence service for comments made in class. His life is then caught in a spiral of tragedy. The unbearably sad details of Mr. Kim’s life are revealed twenty years later to the narrator, a middle-aged woman struggling with the disillusionment of an unfulfilled life. The pain, frustration, and futility endured by Mr. Kim bring to the narrator a new awareness of the swamp of pain and sadness that lurks behind the languorous serenity of everyday life.