cover image Your Republic Is Calling You

Your Republic Is Calling You

Young-ha Kim, trans. from the Korean by Chi-Young Kim, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $14.95 paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-15-101545-0

Spanning a single day, this tense spy novel from Kim (I Have the Right to Destroy Myself), marred only by some stilted prose, is also a deeply compelling study of the self and varying themes of trust. Kim Ki-yong, a North Korean spy who's lived undercover for 21 years, has fully adapted to life in Seoul, South Korea, where he runs a successful foreign-film importing business, owns a home, and has a wife and teenage daughter, neither of whom is aware of his past or actual identity. As Ki-yong ponders returning to the austere and sterile militaristic regime of the North after receiving a coded message from his handler ("Liquidate everything and return immediately"), his wife, Ma-ri, struggles with infidelity and his daughter, Hyon-mi, maneuvers the tumultuous and tricky landscape of adolescence. Kim offers a riveting tale of espionage along with keen observations of human behavior. (Sept.)