Monday, August 20, 2007

Kim Young Ha's I Have the Right to Destroy Myself

This summer, I read one of the most compelling novels I have read in years: I Have the Right to Destroy Myself, by Kim Young Ha. I read it in three sittings and loved it. Born near the DMZ in Korea, Kim became a literary celebrity of sorts, with this relatively short novel published in 1996 quickly becoming a cult phenomenon. He was only in his late 20's at the time of its publication. Think of the unfettered violence and sexual perversions of Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club, mixed with the sensual tension and philosophical explorations of visual art and the urban versus suburban existence (& ecstacies) of Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being, mixed with the morbid derangement & violence of Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. Essentially, the novel is about a man who helps suicidal people find ways to kill themselves. Throw in a love triangle (of sorts) and some existentialism for good measure, and you get the idea. This novel is not for the light-hearted or squeamish. Consider yourselves warned.


This, as usual, is superb. MiPOesias---version September 2007.


jenni said...

the novel sounds fantastic. i need to add it to my list!

Lee Herrick said...

yeah, it's really a good one, jenni.