London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

Suicide Notes – a brief review of Kim Young-ha’s I Have the Right to Destroy Myself

young-ha_kim_-_i_have_the_right_to_destroy_myself-coverKim Young-ha: I have the right to destroy myself
Originally published 1996
Translation by Kim Chi-young, Harcourt, 2007

An entertaining book to read, but somehow difficult to distill and digest. The narrator, who makes a macabre living as a self-employed suicide counselor, bizarrely seeks out clients whose exits he facilitates. A small and eccentric cast of characters includes an artist, his taxi-driving brother, the girl they’re both having a relationship with and another girl who because of an unfortunate sexual experience is unable to drink water.

The story is well-constructed, the text well-translated. This is Kim’s first novel, and well worth a second read.


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