Wednesday, February 3, 2016

I Have The Right To Destroy Myself by Young-Ha Kim

I Have The Right To Destroy Myself
by Young-Ha Kim
translated by Chi-Young Kim

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: 2007
Publisher: Harcourt, Inc.
Genre: Korea, Mystery
Paperback: 119 pages
Rating: 4

First sentence(s):
I'm looking at Jacques-Louis David's 1793 oil painting, The Death of Marat, printed in an art book. The Jacobin revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat lies murdered in his bath. His head is wrapped in a towel, like a turban, and his hand, draped alongside the tub, holds a pen.

"I don't encourage murder. I have no interest in one person killing another. I only want to draw out morbid desires, imprisoned deep in the unconscious. This lust, once freed, starts growing. Their imaginations run free, and they soon discover their potential... They are waiting for someone like me."

A spectral, nameless narrator haunts the lost and wounded of big-city Seoul, suggesting solace in suicide. Wandering through the bright lights of their high-urban existence, C and K are brothers who fall in love with the same woman - Se-yeon. As their lives intersect, they tear at each other in a struggle to find connection in their fast-paced, atomized world.

Dreamlike and cinematic, I Have the Right to Destroy Myself brilliantly affirms Young-ha Kim as Korea's leading young literary master.

My two-bits:

Artsy feel to this one with a grim reaper feel to it.

Although I read this to get a sense of Korea, the story is one that speaks to all in regards to life and living and could have very well taken place anywhere in the world.

About the author:
Young-ha Kim was born in Hwacheon. He moved from place to place as a child, since his father was in the military. As a child, he suffered from gas poisoning from coal gas and lost memory before ten. He was educated at Yonsei University in Seoul, majoring business administration, but he didn't show much interest in it. Instead he focused on writing stories. Kim, after graduating from Yonsei University in 1993, began his military service as an assistant detective at the military police 51st Infantry Division near Suwon. His career as a professional writer started in 1995 right after discharge.

Kim previously worked as a professor in the Drama School at Korean National University of Arts and on a regular basis hosted a book-themed radio program. In autumn 2008, he resigned all his jobs to devote himself exclusively to writing. He currently lives in Seoul, Korea.


  1. Interesting....sounds like something I would like.

  2. Not for me, but I can appreciate the macabre occasionally.


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