Lemon: A Novel

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Other Press, LLC, Oct 26, 2021 - Fiction - 160 pages
New York Times Book Review: Editor’s Choice 
Philadelphia Inquirer: Best Book of the Month  
World Literature Today: Notable Translation of the Year  
CrimeReads: Best International Crime Novel of the Year
Ms. Magazine
: Most Anticipated Book of the Year 
Washington Independent Review of Books: Favorite Book of the Year  

meets The Good Son in this piercing psychological portrait of three women haunted by a brutal, unsolved crime.
In the summer of 2002, when Korea is abuzz over hosting the FIFA World Cup, eighteen-year-old Kim Hae-on is killed in what becomes known as the High School Beauty Murder. Two suspects quickly emerge: rich kid Shin Jeongjun, whose car Hae-on was last seen in, and delivery boy Han Manu, who witnessed her there just a few hours before her death. But when Jeongjun’s alibi checks out, and no evidence can be pinned on Manu, the case goes cold.
Seventeen years pass without any resolution for those close to Hae-on, and the grief and uncertainty take a cruel toll on her younger sister, Da-on, in particular. Unable to move on with her life, Da-on tries in her own twisted way to recover some of what she’s lost, ultimately setting out to find the truth of what happened. 
Shifting between the perspectives of Da-on and two of Hae-on’s classmates struck in different ways by her otherworldly beauty, Lemon ostensibly takes the shape of a crime novel. But identifying the perpetrator is not the main objective here: Kwon Yeo-sun uses this well-worn form to craft a searing, timely exploration of privilege, jealousy, trauma, and how we live with the wrongs we have endured and inflicted in turn.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - kayanelson - LibraryThing

Wow, a small book that packs a big punch. The main plot is that a girl’s sister is murdered and no one is convicted of the crime. The slow revealing of what might have happened is fascinating. I know ... Read full review


User Review  - Publishers Weekly

South Korean author Kwon’s powerful English-language debut explores issues of jealousy, loss, and physical beauty. Long after the event, “short and dumpy” Kim Da-on remains obsessed with the 2002 ... Read full review

Selected pages


POEM 2006
LEMON 2010
ROPE 2010
KNEES 2010
GOD 2015

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About the author (2021)

Kwon Yeo-sun was born in Andong, South Korea, and now lives in Seoul. In 1996 she received the Sangsang Literary Award for her debut novel, Niche of Green. Her subsequent novels and short stories have received numerous literary awards, including the Hankook Ilbo Literary Award, Yi Sang Literary Prize, and Oh Yeong-su Literature Award, among others. Lemon is her first novel to be published in English.

Janet Hong is a writer and translator based in Vancouver, Canada. She received the 2018 TA First Translation Prize and the 16th LTI Korea Translation Award for her translation of Han Yujoo’s The Impossible Fairy Tale, which was also a finalist for both the 2018 PEN Translation Prize and the 2018 National Translation Award. Her recent translations include Ha Seong-nan’s Bluebeard’s First Wife, Ancco’s Nineteen, and Keum Suk Gendry-Kim’s Grass.

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