Ahn Do-hyeon

The Salmon Who Dared to Leap Higher

April 1, 2015 -  Pan Macmillan.
(THE SALMON STORY, sequel –material coming soon). Translated by Deborah Smith.
Munhakdogne Publishers/Korea, Pan Macmillan publication. April2015. Pre-empted by Suhrkamp Insel Verlag/Germany,  French(Philippe Picquier), Japanese(Seishun Publishing),  China(Huazhong University of Science and Technology Press Co.,Ltd.), and Vietnam(Nha Nam Publishing). 1,850,000 copies sold so far.

A beautiful and touching life of salmon.  Salmon is the leading title of Munhakdongne’s Fables for Adults series. By depicting the life of the salmon, which swims upstream to its native river and then dies after spawning, it demonstrates allegorically the preciousness of life. Salmon is a story about the pain and gloryof growing up and about aching and ardent love.   Salmon tells the growth of a fish named Silver Salmon, who, while returning to his distant mother stream with his friends, loses a sister, falls in love with Clear-eyed Salmon, and ascends a waterfall. The beautiful fate of salmon, which die shortly after spawning, is fused into a warm and moving style of writing that leads the reader into a mysterious, hidden world.   A "novel-like fable" and a "fable-like novel," Salmon deals with a weighty theme, delving into the true nature of life and the pain of existence. Swimming upstream to one’s native river means pursuing something one cannot see, pursuing a dream -- it is an excruciatingly hard but beautiful goal. Silver Salmon’s realization that the purpose of his existence is to protect others here and now, to act as a support for others and not think of himself, provides a humble view of life. 

The migration home of countless shoals of salmon, which have “eyes of the heart” in order to fulfill a pure and innocent love, shows the amazing splendor that is possible when man and nature meet. Within this splendor, the love of Silver Salmon and Clear-eyed Salmon is painful and yet resounds with sweet melody. Only those salmon that possess the gift of seeing the world in a beautiful light are able to fall in love and have the longing to become bound to the heart of another, to become a deep memory that can never be erased. Eyes that long to see that which is not visible, eyes that know how to visualize that which cannot be seen - such are "eyes of the heart." Silver Salmon’s love invites us to recover our own "eyes of the heart" so that we can pursue the pure and innocent love we have either forgotten or lost in the face of the binding realities of life.

Ahn Do-hyeon was born in 1961 in Yeocheon, and graduated from Wonkwang University where he studied Korean literature. His writing career took off when he won the Daegu Maeil Shinmun Annual Literary Contest with his poem Nakdong River in 1981 and the Dong-A Ilbo Annual Literary Contest with his poem Jeon Bong-jun Goes to Seoul in 1984. Ahn also received the 1996 Young Poet´s Award and the 1998 Kim So-wol Literature Prize. Ahn’s anthologies of poetry include Jeon Bong-jun Goes to Seoul, Bonfire, Lonely High Solitary, Beloved Fox, Post Office by the Sea, I Want to Go to You, Unable to Sleep?, Just Me and the Train, I Made a River to Go to You, and Earnestly Just Like a Child. Ahn’s prose works include In Times of Loneliness, Let Yourself be Lonely, Salmon, Relations, and Photograph Album.