FT book review: The Good Son by You-jeong Jeong

Published in the Financial Times, July 20, 2018.

More a ‘why-dunnit’ than a whodunnit, the novel is dark, harrowing, horribly claustrophobic, but hard to put down

Set in 2016 South Korea, The Good Son revolves around Yu-jin, a 26-year-old former swimmer with a 9pm curfew. Epileptic but often skipping his meds, Yu-jin suffers frequent seizures and memory loss. One morning, he wakes up covered in blood and finds his mother dead in the kitchen with her throat slit. He delves into his woolly recollections to look for answers, but questions only beget more questions, and Yu-jin’s attempt to pin down the murderer turns into a violent and gory existential quest to uncover the truth of his identity.

More a “why-dunnit” than a whodunnit, Jeong’s novel is dark, harrowing, horribly claustrophobic, but hard to put down. As Yu-jin reaches deeper into himself, he uncovers a monstrous side to his personality.

Inspired by a real-life murderer, You-jeong Jeong’s novel speaks for a facet of the human condition that is more prevalent than we like to think.

The Good Son, by You-jeong Jeong, translated by Chi-Young Kim, Little, Brown RRP£16.99, 320 pages

lyd

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