Welcome to the world of Kim Sun-young, a self-dubbed “sexy mild genius girl.” This satirical novella will most certainly be unlike any kind of fiction you’ve read before. As opposed to the typical literary satire, which more often than not tends to be political and/or social in nature, “The Uncorrected Proof of Sexy Mild Genius Girl” is a linguistic satire that is also a work of metafiction (think of anything from Don Quixote to Cloud Atlas to The New York Trilogy). At the same time, it is a fresh look at Korean culture, essentially a show-don’t-tell approach that past and present residents of the peninsula will immediately identify with, and something that may very well leave those who have no connection to the 5,000-year-old nation scratching their heads (but hopefully have a few laughs along the way).
After living in Korea for a decade and studying the language for years, I wanted to capture a unique element to the country’s language and the challenges/pitfalls that we as native English speakers face when learning Korean. More specifically, I wanted to point out the hurdles that Koreans must clear to learn English. The way I see it, one of the biggest problems Koreans face when learning English is that they are forced to use archaic, out-of-touch, poorly organized dictionaries, some of which date back (I kid you not) to the time of the Jesuits, especially their heyday between the 16th and 18th centuries, when they had a linguistic juggernaut on much of Asia.
The WTF/unique approach I took to writing Sexy Mild was to conceive of the story in Korean and then translate it back into English using only a Korean-English dictionary (from the popular portal Naver). I call this a reverse translation because it’s essentially an outbound-cum-inbound translation.
So, on that note I invite you to enter the world of Sexy Mild Genius Girl and share her journey as she does battle with the English language and engages in a passionate monologue with her “editor.” Click here to download the story.