London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

LKL book database logo

The Cabinet

Translated by:
Publisher: , 2021
Original title: 캐비닛, 2006
Link to online store *

Cabinet 13 looks exactly like any normal filing cabinet…Except this cabinet is filled with files on the ‘symptomers’, humans whose strange abilities and bizarre experiences might just mark the emergence of a new species. But to Kong, the harried office worker whose job it is to look after the cabinet, the symptomers are a headache; especially the one who won’t stop calling every day, asking to be turned into a cat.

A richly funny and fantastical novel about the strangeness at the heart of even the most everyday lives, from one of South Korea’s most acclaimed novelists.

Translated by Sean Lin Halbert

Winner of the Munhakdongne Novel Award, South Korea’s most prestigious literary prize.

Source: publisher’s website

LKL says:

“To be honest, before rummaging through the files in Cabinet 13 and coming to know these strange individuals, even I had not fully grasped the number of different ways to live life.” (p172)

This novel crackles with invention and bursts with ideas. If I haven’t given it full marks it’s because I prefer conclusive endings, and I’d rather more to have been made of the female officer worker in the plot. But that’s just personal preference, and I’d unhesitatingly recommend this as a super-entertaining holiday read.

LKL rating: score-2score-2score-2score-2score-0

Entry on here.

* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or for the more recent uploads (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to and Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.