Translated by Sora Kim-Russell, The Plotters is the American debut of Korean author Un-Su Kim.
From Description: Behind every assassination, there is an anonymous mastermind--a plotter--working in the shadows. Plotters quietly dictate the moves of the city's most dangerous criminals, but their existence is little more than legend. Just who are the plotters?
The Plotters is a strange book that mixes noir with absurdist situations. Reseng, an antihero, is an an assassin raised in the library of Old Raccoon, the librarian. The reader is introduced to contractors, plotters, fixers, assassins guilds, assassins--and targets.
Assassins maintain a distance from their work that lets them discuss the deaths of their targets and the deaths of their fellow assassins with detachment and acceptance. This emotional detachment is necessary for an assassin, but Resang has, in the back of his mind, an awareness of the situation and actually chooses this distance to continue with his "profession." After all, he was raised for it.
Several events over the years, however, have begun to weaken the disassociation. Two particular deaths (murders) of assassins he has respected have gradually interfered with his typical "just a job" attitude. A chance to have another life with a young woman he met at 22, a chance he threw away, also begins to figure into his questioning of his role--questions he has resisted most of his life. He revisits these events in his mind.
Two recent jobs bring doubts to the forefront, and although he has always known that he will probably be a target himself, acknowledging this fact in relation to his recent experiences results in a change of goal. This is not to say that he feels remorse, exactly, but the sea change that has been building over several years takes a more dramatic turn when his friend is murdered and he gets involved with three curious women, one of whom is a plotter that had a bomb placed in his toilet.
Filled with offbeat and provocative characters, The Plotters' smooth translation is geared to making the novel flow easily for Western readers. I hope Un-Su Kim will have another English translation soon.
Read in November; blog review scheduled for Jan. 8, 2019.
Thriller?/Satire. Jan. 29, 2019. Print length: 304 pages.