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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sneaky-Peeky Sunday: This Burns My Heart by author Samuel Park


As part of the 'Sneaky-Peeky Sunday' initiative by The Book Worm, I am copying the page I am reading right now from the book 'This Burns My Heart' by author Samuel Park.

'....though in life the boy had been light, and not very tall. Chu-Sook would, in fact, have been surprised to see the effort it took to carry him; similar to the effort it took to find him, after a long search in the river. Were it not for the school uniform he wore, they would not have recognised him - with his face smashed out, bits of grenade still lodged in his skull.
They'd been marching from his mother's shack toward Daegu city hall, starting with a group of about a hundred people, led by Yul in front, and Soo-Jaa and Chu-Sook's mother next to him. Yul had been expected in Seoul hours earlier, but he'd stayed behind to lead this extemporaneous protest. Night fell somewhere along the way, and the chants grew less angry and more mournful, turning the walk into a funeral procession.
Word spread quickly of the discovery of the body, and the crowd seemed to grow with each block; first the students from the nearby high schools and universities, then everybody else, until almost all the denizens of the town seemed to have left their homes and joined the demonstration. Along the way, Soo-Jaa had to help Chu-Sook's mother remain steady a few times. Her spirit appeared to leave her body, becoming a mere bag of tissue and bones, unable to walk or remain upright. Soo-Jaa had to hold her with her arms around her back, until her strength returned. The other protestors glanced occasionally at them. Word had spread about Chu-Sook's mother, but no one knew who Soo-Jaa was, which made her glad; she did not want the presence of a woman of her social class to serve as a distraction.
Once in a while, Soo-Jaa would glance over at Yul and wonder how his lungs never got tired. He chanted with enormous conviction, and part of Soo-Jaa felt self-conscious, watching him. It reminded her of being in church, in the middle of a group prayer, and opening her eyes before the others did. It seemed terribly intimate, to see the parishioners like that, with their lips still moving. Here was Yul, too, unaware of Soo-Jaa's gaze lingering over him.
Soo-Jaa wondered if he sensed the same thing she did - that in spite of their momentary closeness, they would probably never see each other again after that night. There were boys being killed, and generals........'

(My copy of This Burns My Heart by author Samuel Park has been provided as a complimentary review copy by the publishers Simon & Schuster)


- Debolina Raja Gupta