2023 Book Review Mini Mag PDF


January 2023

The Old Woman With The Knife (2022) By Gu Byeong-Mo South Korean author Gu Byeong-Mo’s crime-thriller novel follows Hornclaw, a sixty-five-year-old woman who refers to herself as a “disease control specialist.” The so-called "vermin" she spends her time exterminating for high prices are humans with a certain rodent-like disposition. Never mind her age and perceived frailty – that is how she evades suspicion. Hornclaw is both fit and dangerous with absolutely no empathy for outsiders. The vulnerability of emotional uncertainty spirals her down a path of reckoning, where she must make a choice to either give into love, her greatest weakness, or shun it entirely.

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Scattered All Over The Earth (2022) By Yoko Tawada What would happen if your country sank into the ocean? Would you still have a claim to your “homeland”? What about the language you speak? Could it still be considered your “native language”? In Yoko Tawada’s latest release of dystopian fiction, the "land of sushi” (presumably Japan) disappears due to global warming and rising sea levels. As a result, the country lingers on only in its kitschy and most digestible form. While no one remembers the actual name of the disappeared land, people do reminisce on anime, miso soup, and cosplay.

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Counterfeit (2022) By Kirsten Chen

Kirsten Chen’s latest novel follows Ava Wong – a straight-edge Chinese-American lawyer shackled to an agonizingly mundane routine of house chores and caring for her maddening infant, Henri, who cannot seem to cease his daily tantrums. Ava is desperate for a change big enough to shake the foundations of her comfortable San Francisco suburban life. Change comes in the form of Winnie, a mainland Chinese woman and formerly Ava’s college roommate from her long-past Stanford days who now runs a counterfeit luxury handbag business.

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