You have failed in relationships, in your career and you are a colossal disappointment, even to yourself. 1 of 1 2 of 1. It is shallow, obsessed with surface sentiments, visually occupied, and rarely gets inside of its characters. I Want to Destroy Myself is Malika’s searing, angry account of her life with Dhasal. Much of our time is spent with C, a video artist, a man cut off from the outside world by his cameras and screens (evoking the brother-in-law in Han Kang’s The Vegetarian). This visual sensation is enhanced by the narrator’s frequent allusions to art. I Have the Right to Destroy Myself is a multi-layered text, dominated by a nameless narrator who helps (or, more accurately, prods) people to commit suicide. Can the case be made that the woman from Hong Kong and Mimi are the same woman? Young-ha Kim has published three novels and numerous short stories. I Have the Right to Destroy Myself Quotes Showing 1-15 of 15 “Sometimes fiction is more easily understood than true events. Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Judith is not the only ‘client’ whose story is revealed, with the narrator relating encounters with two other women who cross his path. There is no need to re-read on my account, I was just wondering because you mentioned three women in the story, and I thought it was made a bit clear that probably two of them were the same woman. Tell yourself you are no good. In short, this is a story of a society where death seems an attractive option. All posts (unless otherwise stated) remain the property of Tony Malone. That is the same question that the narrator posed to the woman from Hong Kong. p.8 (Harcourt Books, 2007). ‘I Have the Right to Destroy Myself’ by Kim Young-ha (Review), ‘Hollow Heart’ by Viola Di Grado (Review). I talk until early in the morning to people with various problems…” Alienation, ennui and self-destruction are perceived as artistic creations in this icy 1996 novel, its Korean author’s first in English translation. The unvarnished story of a marriage and of a woman and a writer seeking her space in a man’s world, Malika Amar Shaikh’s autobiography is also a portrait of the Bombay of poets, activists, prostitutes and fighters. I Have the Right to Destroy Myself Résumé A “mesmerizing” novel of a love triangle and a mysterious disappearance in South Korea (Booklist). Recalling the emotional tension of Milan Kundera and the existential anguish of Bret Easton Ellis, I Have the Right to Destroy Myself achieves its author’s greatest wish—to show Korean literature as part of an international tradition. I HAVE THE RIGHT TO DESTROY MYSELF. “I” seeks out people who are lonely and depressed over the emptiness of life, and recommends suicide. He's a somewhat twisted angel of mercy, seeking out candidates and nudging them towards the deed, convincing them that suicide is the way to go. It explores the emptiness of life – cold, hard, impersonal, brutal -, and introduces the people suffering in its midst to a man who can make it all go away. A man with a calm demeanour, he first talks us through his daily routine, frequently alluding to his ‘work’, before introducing the reader to one of his ‘clients’, a young woman known mainly by her nickname ‘Judith’. So, was this to be the pair’s finest hour, or would it be another disappointment? In their own ways, the brothers are just as unhappy as the women they encounter. The subjects allow the sovereign to kill them. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. ***** I Have the Right to Destroy Myself is a novella set in mid-90s Seoul, a story in which a shadowy narrator talks about a group of young people going about their lives in the Korean capital. Recalling the emotional tension of Milan Kundera and the existential anguish of Bret Easton Ellis, I Have the Right to Destroy Myself achieves its author’s greatest wish—to show Korean literature as part of an international tradition. Several decades ago, a women by the name of Nancy Cruzan was thrown from … Dreamlike and cinematic, I Have the Right to Destroy Myself is a brilliant demonstration of why Young-ha Kim is Korea’s leading young literary master. Trying to meet all your book preview and review needs. He seeks out those who might need his help and counsels them through the path they are to follow, easing their way out of a tiring, depressing world. -. A good story, cleverly told, and one that will prove very entertaining to a casual reader as well as a critical one. I think it is clear that Hobbes meant to say that 2 and 3 are distinct. The three images he describes (Klimt’s Judith and Holofernes, Delacroix’s The Death of Sardanapalus and David’s The Death of Marat) are all evocative and highly relevant to the story. The younger brother, K, is very different. She has infected his life, not caring what he wants. I Have the Right to Destroy Myself is an excellent reflection of a soulless modern society, and (I have to say) the cover’s pretty great too   I’m very glad I gave the Kims another chance – it just goes to show that there’s always room for hope. The book is also a story of two brothers, Judith’s lovers. A “mesmerizing” novel of a love triangle and a mysterious disappearance in South … Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. And now for I Have the Right to Destroy Myself by Young-ha Kim. Get this from a library! But Kim has the advantage of the urban South Korean landscape. K is unable to understand his brother, or the relationship he has with Judith, but he’s just as frustrated by his own limitations. It’s just a shame that nobody thought to say that to the characters…. She’s the kind of mold that wouldn’t have appeared if he had lived austerely, the kind that breeds only in the dark, neglected corners of a building. A dark, brooding piece full of end-of-millenium angst, it has much in common with works by writers like Park Min-gyu and Bae Suah, and it works much better than Kim’s longer, genre books. I Have the Right to Destroy Myself is a novella set in mid-90s Seoul, a story in which a shadowy narrator talks about a group of young people going about their lives in the Korean capital. Charles Montgomery / 26 May, 2009 Kim Young-ha’s “I Have The Right To Destroy Myself” is a short novel that attempts quite a lot and achieves almost everything it attempts. Judith’s life is far from happy, and her reason for meeting the narrator is to cure her problems – once and for all. The narrator admits to being a storyteller: © 2007-2019 the complete review You have made a mess of your life and you are a wreck. by John Burns on August 29th, 2007 at 11:20 AM. by Young-Ha Kim ; translated by Chi-Young Kim ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 1, 2007. Follow Tony's Reading List on WordPress.com, Edinburgh International Book Festival 2020, The Warwick Prize for Women in Translation. The question is how these three things are related to one another. The storyline/narrator involves a man who gets paid to … This novel is an act of summary about human lives, as all novels are. This is its intention. There comes a time in your life when you have … ( Log Out /  In a city full of people tired of life, the narrator of the story has taken it upon himself to offer them a way out. This appears to have transferred across to the translator’s work too – the writing here feels far clearer and more focused, the sparse style fitting the mood of the book. ( Log Out /  Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com. Maybe it was my interpretation or I got something wrong, but the author did make a wonderful job making all the character identities intriguing and ambiguous. The question is who will finally take the plunge – and how…. Scenes wind down in an atmosphere of menacing ennui to a soundtrack of Leonard Cohen tunes.... Amazingly, this short novel never becomes a decadent love letter to suicide, or an excuse to drop a … They both came into contact with the narrator, and notice: Mimi says to C – A guy once came up to me and asked me if I liked Klimt. The book follows a rather omniscient narrator though a dream-like Seoul as he navigates through the tangled lives of those who don't wish to live anymore, and those that surround them. Because it’s 2016, and in Canada, the suicidally depressed still don’t have the right to die. Anyone wishing to use all or part of one of my posts should seek permission before doing so. Young-Ha Kim is the author of the acclaimed I Have the Right to Destroy Myself and the award-winning Black Flower.He has earned a reputation as the most talented and prolific Korean writer of his generation, publishing seven novels and five collections of stories. That’s why at my breaking point, I started to destroy myself and I found that along with my destruction came liberation. I Have the Right to Destroy Myself by Young-ha Kim, translated by Chi-Young Kim In densely populated Seoul, a mysterious man makes a lucrative living by helping “clients” commit suicide. -, "Young-Ha Kim's novel is art built upon art. Kim paints striking images of C and Judith stranded in the snow, K blistering down the highway at 180 km/h in the dark, and Mimi feverishly swinging her paint-splattered hair across a white canvas. The other is a beautiful performance artist called Mimi, charismatic yet withdrawn, wondering where her art is taking her. I have the right to destroy myself. ***** Read "I Have the Right to Destroy Myself" by Young-ha Kim available from Rakuten Kobo. 2. Let’s find out…. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Fast cars, sex with lollipops and weather fronts from Siberia lend a unique flavor to good old-fashioned nihilism. He hates himself for trudging through the snow looking for a woman who was having sex with his brother on the day their mother was buried.” (p.44), C is unable to give himself fully, a fact that becomes evident when he later meets Mimi as well…. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. ( Log Out /  The protagonist/narrator of I Have the Right to Destroy Myself is a suicide designer. Recalling the emotional tension of Milan Kundera and the existential anguish of Bret Easton Ellis, "I Have The Right To Destroy Myself" achieves its author's greatest wish - to show Korean literature as part of an international tradition. But now he's made a 'proper' techno album (a la Kangding Ray) and I am LOSING MY MIND. His style is reminiscent of Kafka's and also relies on images of paintings (...) and film (...). It does ring a bell, but I’d have to reread the book to be able to decide . Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Young-ha Kim is a young master, the leading literary voice of his generation. I Have the Right to Destroy Myself. Such heady influences can topple a novel. "I Have the Right to Destroy Myself" is also a work of resistance, but rather an existential one. In other words, it's slow, meditative, doesn't bother tying up every loose end, and sometimes leaves the reader working hard to create meaning. Young-ha Kim is a young master, the leading literary voice of his generation. While the narrator’s work is only revealed explicitly late in the book, it’s clear early on what his job entails: “They call responding to my ad in the paper: “We listen to your problems.”  Having read this simple sentence, they wait until nightfall to dial. One is a nameless Hong Kong woman he meets on a holiday in Vienna, a former ‘mannequin’ who has fled a life of voyeurism and sexual domination. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Main | the New | the Best | the Rest | Review Index | Links, "(A) determinedly "literary" effort -- Big Themes, a fractured narrative, shifting characters -- that explores, with a delicate but morbid sensibility, the alienating effects of life in the late 20th century." Change ). He’s the driver of one of Seoul’s notorious ‘bullet taxis’, a man longing for speed but destined never to reach the velocity he desires. by Learn how your comment data is processed. They still don’t have the right to end their suffering with dignity; they still don’t have the right to spare the people they love the shock of losing them, of knowing that they died alone in terrible pain. The urge to walk away from it all and struggle they Have gone through just for you, then yourself. He coaches them and runs errands for them in order to make happen. Burns on August 29th, 2007 s a distinct cinematic feel to the characters… artist Mimi. 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