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The Cabinet: Un-Su Kim in conversation with Phillip Kim

The KCC’s monthly literature discussions restart in February with Un-su Kim’s debut novel The Cabinet. It has quite a different flavour from his Plotters, which was the first to make it into English, but shares its inventiveness and pace.

The Cabinet

Discussion: Wednesday 23 February 2022, 12 noon
Apply by 4 February
Full details – including how to register – on KCCUK website

cover art: The CabinetThe Cabinet is a story about the documents that record these symptomers and the man who manages the documents in Cabinet 13. This seemingly ordinary, old cabinet is filled with stories that are peculiar, strange, eye-popping, disgusting, enraging, and touching. However, the fast changing world is also full of all sorts of unbelievable things. Perhaps symptomers exist not only in the novel but also in the real world. Perhaps some of us do not accept our past and instead, erase our memories and create new ones. Some of us might want to become a wooden doll or a cat rather than live in pain as a human. And if you look around, you can find those who can love no one but themselves or their alter egos.

In this novel, the cabinet is a container that holds all the truths of the world. Un-su Kim puts truth into the cabinet “as it is” and keeps it fresh under proper temperature and moisture, utilizing his precise prose and rich style. The moment you turn the last page of the book, you will come to think about which strange stories are inside your own cabinet. And you will be also curious about what story the author will pull out of his cabinet next time.

Un-Su Kim made his debut as a writer in 2002 through the Jinju News Fall Literary Contest with short stories, “Easy Breezy Writing Class” and “Dan Valjean Street” and the 2003 DongA Ilbo Spring Literary Contest with his mid-length novel “Farewell, Friday.” His first full-length novel The Cabinet received the 12th Munhakdongne Novel Award. Kim’s novel The Plotters was released in English in the year 2018, and he won a Grand Prix de Literature Policiere (which is a French prize for the best international crime novel).

Phillip Kim is a banker turned author/publisher based in London. His debut novel Nothing Gained is a financial thriller published by Penguin Book Group in March 2013. He is currently working on his second novel and other writing projects. He has been the Managing Editor of the Asia Literary Review and served on an advisory board of London’s Asia House. He remains active in a promoting Asia-related literature events.


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