There are some short story collections that just fit into my wheelhouse – they’re particularly weird and wonderful at the same time. “Cursed Bunny” by Bora Chung (translated from Korean by Anton Hur) will definitely not be everyone’s taste, but I was super happy I read it.
Chung’s writing is often graphic and does tend to stray into the horror genre a bit, but there is so much depth in each story. The characters are full human beings right from the get-go (which is often missing from some short stories). They’re flawed and selfish and dishonest, which makes them all too relatable. There were some stories that were a bit too gross (namely “The Head”) but I don’t often read books that get that tone of terror and magic that Chung so beautifully encapsulates. The only thing that kept this from being a five-star read for me was that I think perhaps a little bit of Chung’s authentic voice was lost in translation (how I wish I could read Korean to get the full gist!).
Fave stories: “The Embodiment,” “Cursed Bunny,” “The Frozen Finger,” “Reunion” – These run the gamut of a commentary on motherhood and the patriarchy to the effects of generational trauma. These particular stories also happen to be a tad shorter than some of the other ones – I think Chung truly succeeds when she’s more succinct in her storytelling.
I would definitely recommend this collection to anyone who loves magical realism (especially when it strays to the dark side). But beware: there are some major trigger warnings – especially if you’re squeamish around blood or gore.
*Free ARC provided by Algonquin Books in exchange for an honest review*