‘With each year, my childhood house grows bigger in my mind’


Suki Kim at Songgwangsa, South Korea

From The New York Times:

With each year, my childhood house grows bigger in my mind, each nook and corridor casting a longer shadow. The stone steps, about a hundred in total, appear elongated, as if they might reach the sky rather than the front gate. The pomegranate trees and forsythia that had once filled the garden have overgrown into a tropic wilderness, a meteorological miracle for South Korea. The pond, where I looked for the koi with their multiple colors, has turned into a reservoir as deep as the one in Central Park. Rising beyond it all are the peacocks from my father’s menagerie, and I wait, as I have always, for the magical fanning of their tails.

I was 12 years old when we fled our home in the dead of night. The moments when my past comes rushing at me and converges with my immediate surroundings should grow fewer as I get older. But even now, decades later, standing in my kitchen on the Upper West Side, I inevitably pause before throwing out leftover salad and think, “Oh, but I must save it for the peacocks.” 

“Forced From Home Yet Never Free of It”, Suki Kim, The New York Times

Read an excerpt from ‘The Interpreter’ here