January 2022 Harriett Book Club
We were pretty excited about our first book club of 2022 as we were expecting a guest for the first time: Anton Hur, translator of Korean writer Bora Chung’s Cursed Bunny! We also all finished reading Cursed Bunny. It had been some time since all of us finished reading a book from cover to cover and actually enjoyed reading it – and that seemed like a really good start to a new year.
Cursed Bunny is genre-defying collection of short stories by Korean writer Bora Chung that fuses magical realism, horror, speculative fiction, and, above all, ‘unrealistic’ fiction. The first story ‘The Head’ is no doubt an effective hook that fully captures the reader’s attention and offers a foretaste of what Bora Chung is capable of as a writer of unrealistic short stories.
What really struck me was Bora Chung’s cleverness in challenging and twisting logic, imagining possible what would be inconceivable in real life, and turning the ordinary and conventional on its head. My favourite story is ‘Snare’ in which the traditional portrayal of women as predominantly evil foxes in Korean folktales is challenged and the state of patriarchy and human greed in the Korean society is examined.