The new collection of short stories from Korean author Ha Seong-nan, Bluebeard's First Wife (translated from the Korean by Janet Hong), delights and disquiets as much as its exceptional predecessor, Flowers of Mold. Featuring 11 new stories, Ha again offers a selection of short fiction where things are frequently more ominous than they first appear. With their seedy underbellies, a readerly presumption of intentions dastardly (or worse), and very real human yearnings, Ha's tales so effortlessly, so beautifully blend the macabre and the mundane. Recommended By Jeremy G., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Disasters, accidents, and deaths abound in
Bluebeard's First Wife.
A woman spends a night with her fiancé
and his friends, and overhears a terrible secret that has bound them
together since high school. A man grows increasingly agitated by the
apartment noise made by a young family living upstairs and arouses the
suspicion of his own wife when the neighbors meet a string of unlucky
incidents. A couple moves into a picture-perfect country house, but when
their new dog is stolen, they become obsessed with finding the thief,
and in the process, neglect their child.
Ha's paranoia-inducing, heart-quickening stories will have you reconsidering your own neighbors.
“This beautiful collection of short stories takes us into the dark side of Seoul’s suburbia, where petty resentments flare into unpredictable and shocking violence, and momentary lapses have long-lasting implications. Ha Seong-nan stunned me with her debut collection, Flowers of Mold, and her second set of stories to reach the US promises to be just as wondrous a combination of the horrifying and the banal.” Molly Odintz, CrimeReads
"Ha's outstanding collection
delivers heavy doses of guilt, hope, and pain....Dark, strange, and
simultaneously cohesive and diverse, these stories show a superb writer
in full force."
Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Despite a significant body
count, Ha's provocative narratives never devolve into the maudlin,
showcasing instead sly moments of macabre fascination and startling dark
Terry Hong, Booklist (Starred Review)
"In stark, unflinching
prose, Ha plumbs feelings of isolation in a modern world in which
characters often find themselves bent under the force of traditional
expectations, with new dangers looming every day. This is a uniformly
captivating collection of stories that could be incidents from a local
paper, but which are no less haunting for it." Kristen Allen-Vogel, Shelf Awareness
A Publishers Weekly Top Ten Book of 2020
Disasters, accidents, and deaths abound in Bluebeard's First Wife. A woman spends a night with her fianc and his friends, and overhears a terrible secret that has bound them together since high school. A man grows increasingly agitated by the noise made by a young family living in the apartment upstairs and arouses the suspicion of his own wife when the neighbors meet a string of unlucky incidents. A couple moves into a picture-perfect country house, but when their new dog is stolen, they become obsessed with finding the thief, and in the process, neglect their child. The paranoia-inducing, heart-quickening stories in Ha's follow-up to the critically acclaimed Flowers of Mold will have you reconsidering your own neighbors.
About the Author
Ha Seong-nan is the author of five short story collections — including
Bluebeard's First Wife and
Flowers of Mold — and three novels. Over her career, she's
received a number of prestigious awards, such as the Dong-in Literary
Award in 1999, Hankook Ilbo Literary Prize in 2000, the Isu Literature
Prize in 2004, the Oh Yeong-su Literary Award in 2008, and the
Contemporary Literature (Hyundae Munhak) Award in 2009.
Janet Hong is a writer and translator based in Vancouver, Canada. Her work has appeared in
Asia Literary Review,
Words Without Borders, and the
Korea Times. Her other translations include Han Yujoo's
The Impossible Fairy Tale and Ancco's