Parasite

A Literary Predecessor to Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite

Hordes of critics weighed in on the themes and aesthetic strengths of Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite when it won a 2020 Oscar for Best Picture, and one also for writing and directing. One interesting aspect of the film though was under-discussed. That was how it continues a long East Asian tradition of literary work that explore frauds, illusions, and things not being as they appear, or feign, to be. Don’t believe us? Check out this hilarious, surreal, and disturbing flash nonfiction …

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A Wounded Boar by Marty Weaver

I had horrible insomnia as a kid. It certainly didn’t help that my house is old and makes weird noises at night. I heard a noise one night that I still have no explanation for. There I was, 11 years old, lying wide awake in my dark bedroom for the third straight hour. Suddenly, I heard something. It wasn’t any of the creaks or groans I had become accustomed to in my years of sleeplessness. It was a heavy, pained …

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Twice Goodbye by Ji Yun, The Emperor’s Librarian (1724-1805)

Lady Zhao, the wife of my second son, Ruchuan, was a sensitive and enchanting young woman—one of those people who make you glad to be near them. My wife, Mistress Ma, continually boasted to others about Lady Zhao’s character and literary talent, as well as her needlework. She said that Lady Zhao talked with such charm that one could happily listen to her for a whole day. This was all true. We could not have hoped for a better daughter-in-law. …

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A Not So Close Friend by Sebasvisu

Three friends and I went to a concert at the biggest venue in Mexico City. One of my friends is a woman (this is important for the story). So, the concert ended and we agreed on a meetup point outside the venue so we could get a cab and leave together. There were about 100,000 people there, so we inevitably got separated before going to the meetup point. We waited for my friend for about 15 minutes, then we started …

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One Day Off by Jared Swansboro

It seemed as if time had decided to move a day back, alluding to my own possible mistakes. The first birthday that I spent with my significant other, I wrote her a poem. September 26th. For three years straight, I read her that poem. She’d laugh, smile, and say how grateful she was. But this past year, that didn’t happen. I was in my dorm, waking up from a long night of essay writing, when I decided to call her …

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Ghoul’s Geography by Jared Burkhardt

I went to high school in a lonely, relatively normal town. Often, a few of my friends in the grade below my own would tell some interesting, haunting stories at lunchtime. By my sophomore year, I had heard it all; but I wasn’t ready for a haunting story about a ghost girl in school. My friend Carlos’ geography class was very late in the day. The heat was often blistering as school had just started back up, and this was …

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The Ringing of the Western Beast by Ji Yun (1724-1805), The Emperor’s Librarian

About 150 years ago, in the fourteenth year of Emperor Kangxi’s reign, a Western nation gave him a mysterious creature called a “lion.” No one in his circle had ever seen such a creature before, and it immediately featured prominently in the poetry and paintings produced by members of the court. It also featured in many tall tales. For example, one story that made the rounds detailed how the lion escaped the palace one morning by snapping its chains in …

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Snake Girl by Dao Fei, Yantai

Recently in China, a snake girl was reported in a village in the far north – about three flying or twenty driving hours from my hometown in Yantai.  It’s very cold in this part of China, a Canadian kind of cold. The snake girl who lived in the village was about thirteen years old. Before she became a snake girl, she was just this typical Chinese girl – with two ponytails in the back of her head and with skin …

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