January 28, 2008

Young-Ha Kim, I Have the Right to Destroy Myself, trans. Chi-Young Kim (Harcourt, 2007). 119 pages.

A random find I picked up for 99ยข at Goodwill.

An anonymous narrator breaks humanity down to types: those who are ready to suicide and those who aren't. He is more concerned with the first who to him are potential clients in a more nihilistic than Kevorkianesque way. Kim's prose shifts back and forth from 2 brothers C & K, the lover they shared before her suicide, and C's subsequent almost lover, depicting the banality & failure of each's existence. With references to Jim Jarmusch, Maria Callas, Gustav Klimt, Leonard Cohen and Tristan Tzara among others, this read has a hipster flavor that seems to be begging for a John Lurie soundtrack. Idleness, distance, perfunctory sex. . . this has all the hallmarks of an indie hit. It's a well-crafted, albeit bleak, read. I'm looking forward to his other novels coming out in English.



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