Un-su Kim is the rising star of Korean literature. With shades of Murakami, The Plotters is a complex, fascinating moral tale about the changing of the guard in a corrupt underworld—a page-turner filled with black humour and compassion for a fallen world.
If ever there was a novel to keep readers on their toes it is this one. I was captivated by The Plotters‘ kaleidoscopic contradictions.
From the sensitive, bookish souled Reseng who ‘grew up in a library crawling with assassins, hired guns and bounty hunters’ and taught himself to read despite his guardian Old Racoon warning him ‘reading books will doom you to a life of fear and shame’, to the trackers, plotters and myriad other puzzling characters that inhabit the meat market.
Dirty, rank, wretched and revolting. That was the meat market. Pointless compassion and sorrow, endlessly spawning apathy, and aimless pent-up anger swept around like dead leaves in autumn until ultimately self-combusting. The final stop for fallen lives.
Can a description of filth and scum be more evocative, more poetic and lyrical? I think not.
Can readers feel empathy for characters who choose to fund their lifestyles from the misery of others? One would think not, but yes you can… if the characters (and context) are as well developed and multifaceted as Un-su Kim’s. It takes great skill and nuance to pull something like that off.
And remember, this is a novel in translation. Bravo Sora Kim-Russell.
Murder was quiet and simple in the plotting world. There were no huge explosions like in the movies, and rarely any messy car accidents or hails of bullets. It was as silent as snowfall in the night, as secretive as a cat’s footsteps.
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