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The Whole House Clean Out Services for Dead ManKim Wan

If a person’s life is a movie, then the author’s work is the one last line of the ending credit that nobody ever pays attention to. However, through this book, the author shines the spotlight on the last bitter moment of the neighbors we overlooked, to convey, ironically enough, a strong will for life and its preciousness. - Yoo Seong-ho (Professor of the Department of Forensic Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine) I beg of you, please someday forgive me for stopping your suicide. At that moment I had to live, and I felt I had to make you live in order for me to continue living. I am not off the boat yet. We are still on the same boat. That, I will not forget for a long while yet (p. 185).

『The Whole House Clean Out Services for Dead Man』

Author : Kim Wan
Publisher : Gimmyoung
Publication date : May 30, 2020
Number of pages : 252
Format : 130x190mm
ISBN : 9788934992493

Kim Wan

Born in Seoul, raised in Busan, studied poetry in college. Founder and worker at a trauma cleaning service company, Hardworks. He leaves records of human life and existence that he experiences every day at the scenes of death.

The Faces of Lone Deaths the Trauma Cleaner Faces


“Dying alone.” For most people, this phrase will bring up the image of a senior citizen living alone, found too late in an advanced state of decomposition. As someone who doesn’t live alone and isn’t very old, it is so easy to think of dying alone as some pitiful case distant from our own lives.

However, upon following the perspective of author Kim Wan, who visits various scenes as a trauma cleaner, we confront the reality of lonely deaths, the bare face of dying alone. Death creeps up, forlorn, not only on the elderly, but the middle-aged or even the youth. After reading through story after story of lonely deaths of people from all ages and gender, you will find that there can be no stereotype for dying alone. At the scene, the author finds traces of their fight for life all over the place. They clung to life, at the edge of existence, until the very last moment. Blood, filth and relics that hint at their everyday lives before death — in the course of putting away all that, the author contemplates life. So this book, while dealing with “death,” ironically, talks of “life.” Perhaps that is why the stories of the scene of trauma cleaning don’t come across as completely heavy-hearted or tragic.

The author confesses that “this record of looking into someone’s death and reflecting on its significance will make our lives stronger and more valuable.” That is how this book came to be. The author, through the act of jotting down his experience on the scene, performs a cleaning of his mind; he clears away and organizes all the odd thoughts taking up room in his head. Through this essay he cleanses himself of the guilt that comes from the irony of his career — that he makes a living off of others’ deaths — and finds comfort. Hope that the readers will also take away a kaleidoscope of emotions from the book; hope that the readers will be comforted through the process of facing “death” that most consider ominous and gloomy, avoiding even mention of it, and through it, coming to terms with “life”; those are the author’s aspirations filling this book.

The latter part of the book consists of answers to frequently asked questions on the unique job that is “trauma cleaning.” The author answers these questions he’d been asked countless times with related anecdotes, which makes the reader also contemplate the meaning of professionalism and one’s philosophy on one’s job. When reading about the author’s efforts to return to the normal world after a day at his mentally taxing work, or episodes that were caused by his strict professionalism, the author comes across as a warm humanist.

Just like the work you do, my work is very special as well. A person, who was unique in this world, has passed and we clean their space. A person does not die twice, so my service for this unique being can only take place once. Isn’t this work very special, and very noble indeed? (p. 139)

The author’s superb style is another one of the book’s great merits. The author, who studied at the Department of Creative Writing and wrote after graduation, makes the trauma scene come alive through his writing — which is not too heavy, and not too light, either.

Insight into life and death, reflection on our society, the attitude towards one’s calling — we should contemplate on these things at least once during our lives, which can be found in this book while reading a story or two on the special services done around death.

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