Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sonmi: Deified in Death

Korean Peninsula
(Image from Wikipedia)

By now, regular readers know that the county called Nea So Copros in David Mitchell's novel Cloud Atlas is modeled on a unified Korea, but this is made explicit only in the story that follows "An Orison of Sonmi-451," a tale entitled "Sloosha's Crossin' an' Ev'rythin' After," which relates the story of a certain Zachry who lives on an island of Ha-Why (Hawaii) in a post-apocalyptic, barbaric future and worships the goddess Sonmi, even after he learns the truth of her humanity through asking a more civilized visitor known as Meronym about the three-dimensional image of a beautiful woman that she has in her possession:
She was Sonmi, Zachry. Sonmi the freakbirthed human what your ancestors b'liefed was your god.
Meronym then further explains:
She was borned'n'died hun'erds o' years ago 'cross the ocean west-nor'westly . . . on a pen'sula all deadlanded now but its old-time name was Nea So Copros an' its ancient one Korea. A short'n'judased life Sonmi had, an' only after she'd died did she find say-so over purebloods'n'freakbirths' thinkin's.
These two quotes come from page 277, and anyone who's stayed with me thus far, since that beginning quote from page 3 in my reading of Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, will observe that this novel covers a lot of territory and time, literally a world-historical text.

But more reports another time, for today's the date of an annual medical check-up for me.

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At 8:05 AM, Blogger Kevin Kim said...

Nea So Copros: a poop reference? Is the implication that a unified Korea is a crappy idea?

At 9:37 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Yeah, I've been wondering about that name: "New So Crappy"?

Also, why Korea? Why not Japan, where Mitchell lived for eight years? Or is he actually depicting Japan?

(Japan, by the way, seems to be part of 'greater' Korea in the novel.)

Jeffery Hodges

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At 7:29 PM, Blogger Charles Montgomery said...

I'm wondering why an editor didn't have a decent go at that text? It's all typos and gibberish!

Shoot, the word-verification "scaryo" would fit right in there.

At 7:39 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

You just can't get decent copyeditors these days!

By the way, I'll be free for a beer after Wednesday -- my family's heading for the Ozarks two weeks ahead of me.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 2:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of Kevin's use of the word "crappy" and your physical exam - did your prostate check out alright?


At 2:48 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

They didn't check that the old-fashioned way, if at all, but I feel well enough for having enjoyed a life of hard living.

Jeffery Hodges

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