DescriptionDisasters, accidents, and deaths abound in Bluebeard's First Wife. A woman spends a night with her fiancé and his friends, and overhears a terrible secret that has bound them together since high school. A man grows increasingly agitated by the apartment noise made by a young family living upstairs and arouses the suspicion of his own wife when the neighbors meet a string of unlucky incidents. A couple moves into a picture-perfect country house, but when their new dog is stolen, they become obsessed with finding the thief, and in the process, neglect their child. Ha's paranoia-inducing, heart-quickening stories will have you reconsidering your own neighbors.
June 16, 2020
5.4 X 0.8 X 8.4 inches | 0.7 pounds
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About the Author
Ha Seong-nan is the author of five short story collections--including Bluebeard's First Wife and Flowers of Mold--and three novels. Over her career, she's received a number of prestigious awards, such as the Dong-in Literary Award in 1999, Hankook Ilbo Literary Prize in 2000, the Isu Literature Prize in 2004, the Oh Yeong-su Literary Award in 2008, and the Contemporary Literature (Hyundae Munhak) Award in 2009. Janet Hong is a writer and translator based in Vancouver, Canada. Her work has appeared in Literary Hub, Asia Literary Review, Words Without Borders, and the Korea Times. Her other translations include Han Yujoo's The Impossible Fairy Tale and Ancco's Bad Friends.
Praise for Flowers of Mold "These mesmerizing stories of disconnection and detritus unfurl with the surreal illogic of dreams--it's as impossible to resist their pull as it is to understand, in retrospect, how circumstance succeeded circumstance to finally deliver the reader into a moment as indelible as it is unexpected. Janet Hong's translation glitters like a blade." --Susan Choi "Flowers of Mold shows Ha Seong-nan to be a master of the strange story. Here, things almost happen and the weight of their almost happening hangs over the narrative like a threat. Or they do happen, and then characters go on almost like they haven't, much to the reader's dismay. Or a story builds up and then, where most authors would pursue things to the last fraying thread of their narrative, Ha elegantly severs the rest of the story and delicately ties it off. And as you read more of these stories, they begin to chime within one another, creating a sense of deja-vu. In any case, one is left feeling unsettled, as if something is not right with the world--or, rather (and this latter option becomes increasingly convincing), as if something is not right with you." --Brian Evenson "Wrapped up in fantasy or dreams, these men, women, and children are often confused over what is and isn't real, the reader seeing before they do how their anxious yearning will go unfulfilled." --Laura Adamczyk, The A.V. Club "Be forewarned: it might make you reconsider your interest in your neighbors, because it could lead to obsession and madness--or something odder and less reassuring than a tidy end, of which there are few in this wonderfully unsettling book of 10 masterful short stories.." --John Yau, Hyperallergic "Joining a growing cohort of notable Korean imports, Ha's dazzling, vaguely intertwined collection of 10 stories is poised for Western acclaim." --Booklist, starred review "This impressive collection reveals Ha's close attention to the eccentricities of life, and is sure to earn her a legion of new admirers." --Publishers Weekly, starred review "Ha's ability to find startling traits in seemingly unremarkable characters makes each story a small treasure." --Shelf Awareness