The Plotters

Un-Su Kim, trans. from the Korean by Sora Kim-Russell. Doubleday, $26.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-385-54438-2
Korean author Kim makes his U.S. debut with a powerful, surreal political thriller, in which assassination is a business “driven by market forces.” The faceless plotters of the title employ hit men such as Reseng, an orphan found in a garbage can who was adopted by a man called Old Raccoon. The bookish Reseng grows up in Old Raccoon’s library—a place “crawling with assassins, hired guns and bounty hunters.” In the first chapter, Reseng kills a retired general from the days of South Korea’s military junta after spending a sociable evening at the old man’s house. The complex plot, in which Reseng becomes involved with a more polished, CEO-like hit man named Hanja, builds to a highly cinematic and violent denouement. Most memorable, though, is the novel’s message about the insidiousness of unaccountable institutions, from those under the military junta to those that thrive in today’s economy. The consequence of the pervasive corruption is an air of existential despair. This strange, ambitious book will appeal equally to literary fiction readers. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/29/2018
Release date: 01/29/2019
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-7352-7676-5
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