Sunday 7 January 2024

Book Review: The Hole by Pyun Hye-young (Thriller)

Title: The Hole
Author: Pyun Hye-young
Publisher: Arcade
Publication Date: 2018 (2016)
Pages: 208
Format: Paperback
Genre: Thriller
Source: Xmas Gift
In this tense, gripping novel by a rising star of Korean literature, Ogi has woken from a coma after causing a devastating car accident that took his wife’s life and left him paralyzed and badly disfigured. His caretaker is his mother-in-law, a widow grieving the loss of her only child. Ogi is neglected and left alone in his bed. His world shrinks to the room he lies in and his memories of his troubled relationship with his wife, a sensitive, intelligent woman who found all of her life goals thwarted except for one: cultivating the garden in front of their house. But soon Ogi notices his mother-in-law in the abandoned garden, uprooting what his wife had worked so hard to plant and obsessively digging larger and larger holes. When asked, she answers only that she is finishing what her daughter started.

The Hole was a quick but interesting read. It was a claustrophobic piece that mirrored in atmosphere the situation in which the narrator found himself. There are elements of Stephen King's Misery here, but perhaps with more psychological force and more moral greyness. The ending is in some ways satisfying but in others not, as I was still left with a few questions as to whether it was the end and how things would properly conclude. This is not a book I'd rush to read again, but I found it enjoyable on this first read, and therefore I am giving it four stars.

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