Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I Have the Right to Destroy Myself, 8/100

Started reading Young-Ha Kim's I Have the Right to Destroy Myself in the bathtub last night. The novel opens with a discussion of Jacques-Louis David's "The Death of Marat." So...that was unsettling.

The novel (more like novella, clocking in at only 119 pages) is about a nameless narrator who helps people commit suicide. It's uncertain whether he is supernatural, like an angel or demon, or just a regular Joe with strange motives. Either way, HE'S really interesting, and I wish the whole story focused on him. Instead we're pushed into a strange story involving two brothers sleeping with the same woman. The characters aren't believable, and have quirks for the sake of having quirks.

The writing is wonderful. Too bad Kim never hooks the reader with any type of convincing plot or character development. Expanded, it could have had a lot more going for it. I felt like what I read was a summary of a better, fully-realized novel.

So, meh. But here are some passages.

People who don't know how to summarize have no dignity. Neither do people who needlessly drag on their messy lives. They who don't know the beauty of simplification, of pruning away the unnecessary, die without ever comprehending the true meaning of life.

Fear often wears the clothing of hatred. If you are going to learn how to ride a bike, you have to turn the handles the direction you're falling, and pedal hard.

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