The Law of Lines

Hye-young Pyun, trans. from the Korean by Sora Kim-Russell. Arcade, $24.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-948924-96-2
In this enigmatic tale of two South Korean women dealing with tragedy, Shirley Jackson Award winner Pyun (The Hole) fails to sustain the energy from the dramatic opening developments in the lives of Se-oh Yun and Ki-jeong Shin. The anxious Se-oh, whose mother died when she was eight, doesn’t like to stay away for too long from the small, rundown house she shares with her father. One day, she returns from an errand to find the house devastated by a gas explosion, which the police suspect may have been the result of a suicide attempt by her father, who unbeknownst to her was in debt. She suspects, however, someone tried to kill her father. Meanwhile, high school teacher Ki-jeong learns that her college student sister has been found dead in the Namgang River. The drowning, which could have been either accident or suicide, elicits conflicting feelings, given how often Ki-jeong imagined her sibling, who tormented their mother, dead. Eventually, the story lines of the two leads intersect, but that happens late in the book and not in a very satisfying way. Despite sometimes moving portraits of characters in deep pain, the whole is less than the sum of its parts. (May)
Reviewed on : 02/13/2020
Release date: 05/01/2020
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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