Sunday 17 January 2021

Diary of a Murderer and Other Stories by Kim Young-Ha (Contemporary Fiction)

Title: Diary of a Murderer and Other Stories
Author: Kim Young-Ha
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Publication Date: 2020 (2019)
Pages: 208
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Borrowed from the Library

Diary of a Murderer is an electric collection that captivates and provokes in equal measure, exploring what it means to be on the edge—between life and death, good and evil. In the titular novella, a former serial killer suffering from memory loss sets his sights on a new, and final, target: a killer whose next victim is his daughter. In the following three stories we witness an affair between two childhood friends that questions the limits of loyalty and love; a family’s disintegration after a baby son is kidnapped and recovered years later; and a wild, erotic ride about pursuing creativity at the expense of everything else.


This was my first time reading anything by Kim Young-Ha, and I found Diary of a Murderer really compelling. You get drawn into the killer's mind and you do feel for him as he struggles to remember the things important to him. The ending's twist took me completely by surprise. The remaining three stories were equally as gripping. I especially liked the final piece, The Writer, with its dark sense of humour. In all the tales, the writing style was outwardly simple, yet witty, and the pacing was spot on, as was the characterisation, despite the short page count for each story. On the basis of this work, I am certainly keen to pick up further books by Kim Young-Ha in the future.

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