cover image The Cabinet

The Cabinet

Un Su Kim, trans. from the Korean by Sean Lin Halbert. Angry Robot, $14.99 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-0-85766-917-9

Though Kim’s second novel, The Plotters, was his first work translated into English, this brilliant mosaic novel was his debut in South Korea and is now available in English in a faithful and charismatic translation. Mr. Kong is an everyman office worker who organizes and oversees Cabinet 13, a filing cabinet full of stories. Winding through his recognizable reality are the bizarre accounts of strange occurrences contained within the cabinet, among them, “Why, Ludger Sylbaris, Why?” the story of the lone survivor of a volcanic eruption who is saved by his town’s bizarre superstitions. “The Magician” tells of a man so desperate to escape his troubles that he seeks out supernatural help to become a cat. And the philosophical “Bluffer” reads almost like an essay on the nature of phobia. These stories straddle the lines between science fiction, fantasy, fairy tale, and acute reality, and all are told in an approachable style. Readers will be drawn in by the subtle yet effective oddities that grow increasingly more bizarre as the work wends on. This deserves a wide audience Agent: Barbara Zitwer, Barbara J. Zitwer Agency. (Oct.)