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I Have the Right to Destroy Myself (Harvest Original)by Young-Ha Kim
Synopses & Reviews
In the fast-paced, high-urban landscape of Seoul, C and K are brothers who have fallen in love with the same woman — Se-yeon — who tears at both of them as they all try desperately to find real connection in an atomized world. A spectral, nameless narrator haunts the edges of their lives as he tells of his work helping the lost and hurting find escape through suicide. Dreamlike and beautiful, the South Korea brought forth in this novel is cinematic in its urgency and its reflection of contemporary life everywhere — far beyond the boundaries of the Korean peninsula. Recalling the emotional tension of Milan Kundera and the existential anguish of Bret Easton Ellis, I Have the Right to Destroy Myself achieves its author's greatest wish — to show Korean literature as part of an international tradition. Young-ha Kim is a young master, the leading literary voice of his generation.
"As bleak, chilling, and economically written as Stephen Cranes 1890s classics....Mesmerizing." Booklist
"Mr. Kim's writing is tense, elemental, tangy. Like Georges Simenon, his keen engagement with human perversity yields an abundance of thrills as well as chills (and for good measure, a couple of memorable laughs). This is a real find." Han Ong, author of Fixer Chao
At the library, I flip through magazines first. Of all the articles, the interviews interest me the most. If Im lucky, I find clients in them. Reporters, armed with middlebrow, cheap sensibilities, hide my potential clients characteristics between the lines. They never ask questions like, Have you ever felt the urge to kill someone? . . .” But I dont encourage murder. I have no interest in one person killing another. I only want to draw out morbid desires, imprisoned deep in the unconscious. This lust, once freed, starts growing. Their imaginations run free, and they soon discover their potential . . . They are waiting for someone like me.
A spectral, nameless narrator haunts the lost and wounded of big-city Seoul, suggesting solace in suicide. Wandering through the bright lights of their high-urban existence, C and K are brothers who fall in love with the same woman—Se-yeon. As their lives intersect, they tear at each other in a struggle to find connection in their fast-paced, atomized world.
Dreamlike and cinematic, I Have the Right to Destroy Myself is a brilliant demonstration of why Young-ha Kim is Koreas leading young literary master.
Young-ha Kim has published three novels and numerous short stories. He teaches drama at the Korean National University of Arts and has received the Dongin Literary Award, the Isan Literary Award, and the Hyeondae Literary Award. He lives in Seoul.
About the Author
Young-Ha Kim has published three novels and numerous short stories and has a daily radio show. He teaches drama at the Korean National University of Arts and has received all of Korea's top literary awards. He lives in Seoul.
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