We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure. The narrator admits to being a storyteller: © 2007-2019 the complete review Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. “ I Have the Right to Destroy Myself is a short but satisfying weaving together of art, sex and death. 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 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. The question is how these three things are related to one another. 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. Young-ha Kim is a young master, the leading literary voice of his generation. The protagonist/narrator of I Have the Right to Destroy Myself is a suicide designer. All three of the women struggle with life, and all feel the urge to walk away from it all. This novel is an act of summary about human lives, as all novels are. 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 good story, cleverly told, and one that will prove very entertaining to a casual reader as well as a critical one. 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. Follow Tony's Reading List on WordPress.com, Edinburgh International Book Festival 2020, The Warwick Prize for Women in Translation. She has infected his life, not caring what he wants. 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. I HAVE THE RIGHT TO DESTROY MYSELF. If you think it is right to kill :- •Your precious life,you are getting once,then kill yourself. Think of it as Korean noir." He's a somewhat twisted angel of mercy, seeking out candidates and nudging them towards the deed, convincing them that suicide is … ( Log Out /  It's a business -- those he selects become his clients, and he mentions that: "I can survive for half a year if I find just one" -- but finding and preparing someone to kill themselves is clearly akin to creating a work of art for him, and it's no surprise that art figures so prominently in the account. p.8 (Harcourt Books, 2007). As Judith bounces between two brothers, C and K, the writer portrays a woman who seems able to cope with anything life can throw at her, provided she has enough Chupa-Chups to hand. Alienation, ennui and self-destruction are perceived as artistic creations in this icy 1996 novel, its Korean author’s first in English translation. Can the case be made that the woman from Hong Kong and Mimi are the same woman? However, appearances can be deceiving. Because it’s 2016, and in Canada, the suicidally depressed still don’t have the right to die. The question is who will finally take the plunge – and how…. K is unable to understand his brother, or the relationship he has with Judith, but he’s just as frustrated by his own limitations. by John Burns on August 29th, 2007 at 11:20 AM. -. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. I talk until early in the morning to people with various problems…” "I have never had an NDE, but after reading thousands of beautiful NDE testimonials, I have concluded that if I were to have a massive heart attack - for example - I do not want to be resuscitated. Tell yourself you are no good. 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. 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. Naturally withdrawn, he has an odd relationship with Judith, one unlikely to be based on love or affection: “She’s like mildew that has invaded his life. Maybe novella is a better term, since the work in its entirety takes up only about one-hundred and twenty pages. In the fast-paced, high-urban landscape of Seoul, C and K are brothers who have fallen in love with the same beguiling drifter, Se … 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." It is shallow, obsessed with surface sentiments, visually occupied, and rarely gets inside of its characters. It’s just a shame that nobody thought to say that to the characters…. Young-ha Kim has published three novels and numerous short stories. The story features multiple narrators. In their own ways, the brothers are just as unhappy as the women they encounter. 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. Change ). 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. -, "Young-Ha Kim's novel is art built upon art. Judith is not the only ‘client’ whose story is revealed, with the narrator relating encounters with two other women who cross his path. He coaches them and runs errands for them in order to make it happen. Harcourt, 119 pp, $15.95, softcover. I mean, just look at yourself in the mirror. Featuring a professional suicide assistant as a protagonist, I Have a Right to Destroy Myself pioneers a new realm in the genre of fantasy literature; stories contained in Summoning and What Happened to the Man Caught in the Elevator Door? Because you really aren’t. I Have the Right to Destroy Myself Recently, in my review of Your Republic is Calling You, I talked about how Kim Young-ha’s work, with some exceptions, hadn’t really hit the spot for me (and how his sometime collaborator, translator Chi-Young Kim, had so far impressed me even less…). 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. •Your parents pain , suffering,dreams and struggle they have gone through just for you,then kill yourself. ***** Young-ha Kim has published three novels and numerous short stories. 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. After the relative disappointments of Your Republic is Calling You and Black Flower, I Have the Right to Destroy Myself comes as a relief, a story I enjoyed from the very start. 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. I Have the Right to Destroy Myself. I think it is clear that Hobbes meant to say that 2 and 3 are distinct. I Have The Right To Destroy Myself reads like a Bergman film. There’s a distinct cinematic feel to the book, with C’s project merely one manifestation of the visual environment. Judith’s life is far from happy, and her reason for meeting the narrator is to cure her problems – once and for all. Young-ha Kim is a young master, the leading literary voice of his generation. 1 of 1 2 of 1. 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. I had all the opportunities in the world to re-create myself from scratch and that, I found, was a beautiful thing. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. ( Log Out /  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. All posts (unless otherwise stated) remain the property of Tony Malone. I Want to Destroy Myself is Malika’s searing, angry account of her life with Dhasal. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. The other is a beautiful performance artist called Mimi, charismatic yet withdrawn, wondering where her art is taking her. And now for I Have the Right to Destroy Myself by Young-ha Kim. The philosophy -- life is worthless and small -- reminds us of Camus and Sartre, risky territory for a young writer. The subjects cannot have an obligation to kill themselves (or a “fellow,” which I think means a friend or relative). 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. 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. The storyline/narrator involves a man who gets paid to … His style is reminiscent of Kafka's and also relies on images of paintings (...) and film (...). The subjects allow the sovereign to kill them. But Kim has the advantage of the urban South Korean landscape. As their lives intersect, they tear at each other in a struggle to find connection in their fast-paced, atomized world. ( Log Out /  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. Young-ha Kim is a young master, the leading literary voice of his generation. "I Have the Right to Destroy Myself" is also a work of resistance, but rather an existential one. 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. 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). 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. Anyone wishing to use all or part of one of my posts should seek permission before doing so. Trying to meet all your book preview and review needs. 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. 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. 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 … 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. Reality is often pathetic.” ― Young-ha Kim, I … 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. 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…. However, I’m nothing if not fair, and I was determined to give the pair one last chance, especially as the book I had in mind was one I’d had my eye on for quite some time. Learn how your comment data is processed. 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. That is the same question that the narrator posed to the woman from Hong Kong. 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. Diana – I’m afraid I read this far too long ago now to be able to answer this (and, unfortunately, it was a library copy…). 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’. 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. Just who is Tony, and what exactly is his Reading List? In short, this is a story of a society where death seems an attractive option. Let’s find out…. 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. Such heady influences can topple a novel. This is its intention. Read "I Have the Right to Destroy Myself" by Young-ha Kim available from Rakuten Kobo. And now for I Have the Right to Destroy Myself by Young-ha Kim. ("I Have the Right to Destroy Myself" also resembles the disaffected, empty lives that are common in contemporary Japanese fiction, but with a lacquer of old fashioned fine art.) ***** 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. Several decades ago, a women by the name of Nancy Cruzan was thrown from … “I” seeks out people who are lonely and depressed over the emptiness of life, and recommends suicide. Fast cars, sex with lollipops and weather fronts from Siberia lend a unique flavor to good old-fashioned nihilism. 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 Young-Ha Kim ; translated by Chi-Young Kim ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 1, 2007. It is light on action and has only a slender plot, but it is atmospheric and compelling in its presentation of characters and its evocation of a ‘noir’ Seoul.” Danny Yee’s Book Reviews “The writing is wonderful. I Have the Right to Destroy Myself Quotes Showing 1-15 of 15 “Sometimes fiction is more easily understood than true events. Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com. You have … Young-ha Kim is a young master, the leading literary voice of his generation. The book is also a story of two brothers, Judith’s lovers. ( Log Out /  The Right to Destroy Myself from Life is But An ... Been a fan of Yagya for years and have loved going through his back catalog and blissing out to the downtempo/ambient dub techno. 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. Get this from a library! 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. Kim Young-ha, general information | review summaries | our review | links | about the author. Seeks Out people who are lonely and depressed over the emptiness of life, not caring what he wants is... To make it happen to use all or part of one of my posts should seek permission before doing.... Kim has published three novels and numerous short stories rarely gets inside of its characters society... 2007 ) 2 and 3 are distinct a better term, since the in! 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