Ch’oe Yun’s Mannequin is a novel that reflects on the meaning of beauty and its many facets of existence. The beauty of the main character, Jini, is captured through a carefree imagination that describes it as “the music of the wind,” or something that can’t be described in words. Through the beauty that penetrates and captivates us in fleeting moments, the novel leads us to critically reflect on the question of what true beauty is in a world where people are captivated by the beauty of advertising models in a flood of new products. In that respect, Mannequin, as the title implies, is a sad allegory on a capitalistic society in which a woman’s body, artificial and standardized, becomes a product.
The novelist Ch’oe Yun was born in Seoul in 1953. She received a Master’s degree in Korean Literature from Sogang University, after which she went to France and earned a doctorate in literature. She then returned to Korea and has since been teaching French Literature at Sogang University. Ch’oe made her literary debut as a novelist in 1988 with the publication of her short story, “There a Petal Silently Falls,” in a quarterly literary journal. As a scholar of French literature, she has also translated many Korean novels into French.