Everybody Knows, Nobody Knows By Mi-jin Jung
Everybody Knows, Nobody Knows is a psychological novel consisting of two parts: an action of seeming irrelevance in one part has grave repercussions in the other, and vice versa, thereby catapulting each other into their respective tragic arcs. Each part features a female protagonist whose traumatic childhood experience haunts her adult psyche in insidious ways. As a 10-year- old, Yeonwoo was kidnapped and kept in a water tank for 49 days with her kidnapper making recordings of her agony to be broadcast to the whole country. Yooshin witnessed her mother’sdeath at the hands of debt-collectors, then was taken to a forest by her father (“for her safety”)where she spent weeks waiting for him, who never did come and fetch her as promised. Twenty years later, the two girls are seemingly ordinary, well-functioning women. But their old monsters are there, ever lurking on the fringes of their consciousness, and Yeonwoo and Yooshin must actively seek them out in order to begin true recovery. Rigorously considered and executed with a technical flair, Everybody Knows, Nobody Knows manages to limn the inarticulable, that is, the workings of the human psyche. The 10-year-old girls may have been at the mercy of their aggressors, but twenty years later, the same girls are able to forge ahead out of their rotten water tank and pitch-dark forest with remarkable bravery and resilience.