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Diary of a Murderer
Cover of Diary of a Murderer
Diary of a Murderer
And Other Stories
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"Filled with the kind of sublime, galvanizing stories that strike like a lightning bolt, searing your nerves . . . It's easy enough to see why Kim . . . is acclaimed as the best writer of his...
"Filled with the kind of sublime, galvanizing stories that strike like a lightning bolt, searing your nerves . . . It's easy enough to see why Kim . . . is acclaimed as the best writer of his...
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  • "Filled with the kind of sublime, galvanizing stories that strike like a lightning bolt, searing your nerves . . . It's easy enough to see why Kim . . . is acclaimed as the best writer of his generation; pick up this book and find out for yourself." — Nylon

    It's been twenty-five years since I last murdered someone, or has it been twenty-six?

    Diary of a Murderer captivates and provokes in equal measure, exploring what it means to be on the edge—between life and death, good and evil. In the titular novella, a former serial killer suffering from memory loss sets his sights on one final target: his daughter's boyfriend, who he suspects is also a serial killer. In other stories we witness an affair between two childhood friends that questions the limits of loyalty and love; a family's disintegration after a baby son is kidnapped and recovered years later; and a wild, erotic ride about pursuing creativity at the expense of everything else.
    From "one of South Korea's best and most worldly writers" (NPR), Diary of a Murderer is chilling and high-powered all the way through.

    "Kim is expert at finding the humanity inside the other, the comedy inside the tragedy, and the twisted within the seemingly normal." — CrimeReads

About the Author-

  • YOUNG-HA KIM is the author of seven novels—four published in the United States, including the acclaimed I Have the Right to Destroy Myself and the award-winning Black Flower—and five short-story collections. He has won every major Korean literature award, and his works have been translated into more than a dozen languages. He lives in Seoul, South Korea.

Reviews-

  • Library Journal

    March 1, 2019

    While celebrated South Korea author Kim's long fiction has appeared in English, (e.g., I Hear Your Voice), this is the first of his five story collections to be translated. The opening novella features a now inactive serial killer slowly losing his memory. ("It's been twenty-five years since I last murdered someone, or has it been twenty-six?") Now he's worried that another serial killer he knows is targeting his adoptive daughter--the very daughter his final victim begged him to spare. The narrative is brisk and the voice magnetic, but can this narrator be trusted? Other stories feature a violent encounter that upends two offbeat lovers and a writer contemplating murder to get his creative juices flowing again. VERDICT Spiky, quirky reading for all short story fans, whether of literary or pop bent.

    Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    February 15, 2019
    These tales of obsession reverberate with the hard, cool, and dryly comic voice of one of South Korea's most versatile writers (I Hear Your Voice, 2017, etc.).In the title story, which takes up practically half of this svelte collection, Kim Byeongsu is entering his eighth decade afflicted with Alzheimer's. Because his mind has shattered into fragments that wander or collide, he is compelled to write down everything and anything that comes into his head before it vanishes into the ether. Observations, random encounters, physical details, reminiscences, pieces of poetry--they all somehow find their ways into his journal. When he's able to connect some of these jottings, Byeongsu determines that there's a serial killer at loose in his neighborhood and that the next victim could be his daughter, Eunhui. Such reasoning is based on personal experience: Byeongsu himself was a career serial killer who managed to evade the law for three decades until he quit and took up...bowling? Maybe it was a car accident that shook him out of "the work that [he's] best at." He's not sure, and neither are we. Creeping anxiety and Kafkaesque humor meld in this deceptively intricate novella (the foundation of a 2017 movie, Memoir of a Murderer, co-scripted by its author), goading you into believing just about anything Byeongsu says, no matter how disreputable his past or unreliable his memory. The other three stories retain the first one's chilliness (sustained nicely with help from Lee's translation), which comes across somewhat diffused in different, but no less jolting, contexts. In "The Origin of Life," a liaison between former childhood friends distorts itself into what appears at first to be a romantic triangle but coalesces into a more rhomboidlike shape. "Missing Child" ramps up the intimacy of terror (and vice versa) in chronicling a kidnap case, while "The Writer" frolics with sex, lies, and philosophy in tracking the crash and burn of its title character. Kim's gifts may need a bigger canvas than the short form allows to spread his wings. Still, this is a lively, enthralling introduction to his eclectic artistry.

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    April 1, 2019
    All appears relatively calm at the start of each story in this collection by popular South Korean Kim (I Hear Your Voice, 2017). In the titular novella, an elderly man plainly states that it has been 25 years since he last killed someone. This lucid declaration is followed by a slow deterioration of the self-declared serial killer's memory as a result of Alzheimer's and dementia. Anxiety and paranoia creep into his brief diary entries as a mysterious meeting with a man who seems to know his dark past disrupts the very core of his carefully constructed reality. So, too, in the stories that follow, expectations of an orderly life are thrown into turmoil or characters experience a fortunate near-miss. A lover's tryst gives way to a vengeful set of coincidences, a family struggles to make sense of their child's sudden disappearance, a writer pursues creation at high costs. Kim delicately weaves philosophical debates on the nature of happiness and morality into his characters' inner narrations. Both jarring and atmospheric, this is a cerebrally satisfying collection.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2019, American Library Association.)

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And Other Stories
Young-ha Kim
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