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Translated by Sora Kim-Russell
The important thing is not who pulls the trigger but who’s behind the person who pulls the trigger—the plotters, the masterminds working in the shadows. Raised by Old Raccoon in The Library of Dogs, Reseng has always been surrounded by plots to kill—and by books that no one ever reads. In Seoul’s corrupt underworld, he was destined to be an assassin.
Until he breaks the rules. That’s when he meets a trio of young women—a convenience store worker, her wheelchair-bound sister, and a cross-eyed obsessive knitter—with an extraordinary plot of their own.
Will the women save the day? Or will Reseng be next on the kill list? Who will look after his cats, Reading Lamp and Book Stand? Who planted the bomb in his toilet? How much beer can he drink before he forgets it all?
The Plotters is a cracking noir thriller combined with the soul, wit and lyricism of a highly original literary voice.
Un-su Kim is the rising star of Korean literature. With shades of Murakami, The Plotters is a complex, fascinating moral tale about the changing of the guard in a corrupt underworld—a page-turner filled with black humour and compassion for a fallen world.
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Publishers Weekly (starred review)
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‘Demands to be read for its incredible cast of characters…a first-rate thriller.’
‘A rich, funny, cynical Korean noir…A delicious surprise.’
‘Like a veteran killer…quickly, coolly, and without hesitation, Un-su Kim commands sentences and stories that stab the reader between the ribs. We’ve been waiting for this storyteller and his story.’
‘Awe is my reaction to The Plotters. The novel thrills me like a wolf feels when it has smelled blood.‘
‘Now this is a story with power and style. The one-two punches of humor are a nice bonus…You’ll be laughing out loud every five minutes…you’ll find yourself contemplating the meaning of life, death, and desire for a long, long time. Make sure you leave your evening free, because you won’t be able to put this book down once you start.’
‘A book of revelations for murder both violent yet graceful, dark yet poetic. With sharp humour and sparkling prose, Un-su Kim stylishly spins the tale of the extraordinary life of an ordinary assassin.’
‘More than a crime novel, more than violence and mystery, The Plotters promises both temptation and beauty.’
‘The Plotters is what would happen if you took the best South Korean crime cinema and distilled it into words. A smart but lightning fast thriller that keeps the pressure on to the very last page.’
‘Imagine a mash-up of Tarantino and Camus set in contemporary Seoul, and you have The Plotters. Filled with unexpected humour and exquisite fight scenes.’
‘The Plotters by Un-su Kim is a work of literary genius; a quirky, compelling, intelligent, darkly funny, highly original and thought-provoking thriller like nothing I’ve read. Gorgeous prose elevates the basest of characters and answers the question: How can ours be a life well-lived if we only do as we’re told? I loved this book!’
‘The Plotters tells the story of Renseng, a jaded assassin who startles himself by realising—somewhat belatedly—that he has a moral code, a sense of honour, a soul. All of these will prove to be perilous liabilities in his world. Un-Su Kim is a tremendous writer, and he’s crafted a smart, stylish, and surprisingly moving thriller.’
‘A novel to keep readers on their toes.’
‘It is a harder-than-hard-boiled kooky blast of a book. It is wildly funny and surreal.’
‘The Plotters is a constantly surprising book full [of] fascinating stories and unforgettable characters…A savage, beautifully observed, often poetic novel.’
‘Rich and amusing, with sparkling prose—a cracking noir thriller with soul, wit and intelligence.’
‘A dark, witty, complex and moral tale in a style that is bound to fascinate.’
‘The kind of genre fiction Quentin Tarantino might be inspired by.’
‘Dark wit and searing sarcasm in an irresistible sociopolitical parable designed to delight and dismay.’
‘A powerful, surreal political thriller… [which] builds to a highly cinematic and violent denouement…This strange, ambitious book will appeal equally to literary fiction readers.’
‘Engaging reading to the bitter end.’
‘The Plotters is no primer for a visit to Korea. What it does offer is a vivid portrait of a mesmerising central character—the stoic Reseng. It will also keep readers delightfully off-balance…Kim has mixed bookishness, crackpots and commissioned murder into a rich and unsettling blend.’
‘Pleasingly deadpan, The Plotters manages to be both humorous (Reseng’s cats are called, delightfully, Desk and Lampshade) and violent, and sometimes even wise…in a translation from Sora Kim-Russell that is both seamless and intriguingly provoking.’
‘[A] raucous extravaganza of assassins and lunatics by the lauded Korean writer Un-Su Kim…Kim is a good writer, soulful and observant.’
‘A seductive, Tarantino-like blend of fight scenes and bizarre social comedy. Sora Kim-Russell’s translation is fluent and hiccup-free.’
‘Tightly plotted, elegantly crafted, and as noir as it gets’