20 Apr / Seven Years of Darkness by You-Jeong Jeong, translated by Chi-Young Kim [in Booklist]
Seven years ago, 11-year-old Sowon was left a virtual orphan: his father, Hyonsu was convicted of killing Sowon’s mother and a father and young daughter, then opening the Seryong Village dam’s floodgates, which wiped out half the town, drowning four policemen. While Hyonsu landed on death row, Sowon was passed around to various relatives, who repeatedly discarded him. He finally found stability with Mr. Ahn, a former co-employee of his parents. Their relative peace is shattered when Hyonsu’s execution date becomes national news, re-inspiring “Seryong Lake Disaster” headlines.
What seemed clearly inevitable, of course, isn’t: a shocking manuscript appears, a mysterious box arrives with a Nike shoe from Sowon’s childhood, and a missing man’s name haunts the computer screen. Most disturbingly, Mr. Ahn himself has disappeared.
Between the living and the dead, Feodor Chin has quite the roster to embody – a challenge he takes on with memorable energetic aplomb, especially affecting as he growls and wheedles through the bad guys. While Chin clearly isn’t a Korean speaker, he navigates You-Jeong Jeong’s twists and turns with convincing agility.