BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Diary of a Murderer and Other Stories by Young-Ha Kim [in Booklist]

Author Young-Ha Kim, translator Krys Lee (herself an award-winning writer; Drifting House), and actor David Shih repeat the triumvirate success of Kim’s I Hear Your Voice to deliver his latest collection of four chilling, engrossing stories. The eponymous, novella-length “Diary of a Murderer” – the best of an already arresting quartet – introduces a septuagenarian serial killer who’s keeping a journal to record whatever his Alzheimer’s doesn’t steal away. He both reveals and obscures, making him supremely unreliable, as he pieces together his unwavering intent to commit his final murder to save his daughter’s life.

In “Origin of Life,” two childhood friends reunite as adults and fall into an affair that (unsurprisingly) engenders fatal violence. In “Missing Child,” parents lose their toddler only to face further harrowing challenges when an unrecognizable boy is returned a decade later. In “The Writer,” a once-famous author struggling to finish start his next book is caught in a compromising situation in an NYC Chinatown apartment.

Shih’s sonorous, smoky-voiced performance accentuates the prevalent desperation of untethered characters, further enhancing Kim’s provocative, unnerving narratives.

Review: “Media,” Booklist, January 3, 2020

Readers: Adult

Published: 2019


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