Book Review: Lemon by Kwon Yeo-sun, translated by Janet Hong #Lemon #NotJustAnyBook #YouDecide @HoZ_Books


In the summer of 2002, nineteen-year-old Kim Hae-on was murdered in what became known as the High School Beauty Murder. There were two suspects: Shin Jeongjun, who had a rock-solid alibi, and Han Manu, to whom no evidence could be pinned. The case went cold.

Seventeen years pass without justice, 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.

Told at different points in time from the perspectives of Da-on and two of Hae-on’s classmates, Lemon is a piercing psychological portrait that takes the shape of a crime novel and is a must-read
novel of 2021.

Buy links
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My Review

19 year old Kim Hae-on was murdered in 2002. Shin Jeongjun and Han Manu were both suspects. Shin Jeongjun from a prominent and rich family was the last person to be seen with Kim Hae-on but had an alibi. Han Manu saw Kim Hae-on before she was murdered but no evidence was available that could link him to the murder. The murder of Kim Hae-on has an impact on her family in particular her little sister Da-on who decides 17 years later to look into the case to find out what happened to her sister.

Lemon is a short read but it’s a read that packs a punch. It is a haunting and gripping story which captures your attention from the outset. The story is told from multiple points of view and switches to events leading up to the murder, the aftermath and to present day. The more you read the more there is this feeling of unease and a sense of foreboding. This isn’t just a normal psychological crime novel that centres solely on the a murder, but it looks at the impact that the murder has on the victim’s family and all those involved, directly or indirectly or who were on the periphery of the murder at the time. For Da-on it was not only the loss of her sister but the loss of her own identity after the murder. There are so many subtle clues throughout as to what actually happened that it keeps the reader guessing.

This is definitely a book that once you’ve finished you will start to process everything you’ve read. It certainly left a lasting impression on me as a reader as it’s an intricate story of murder, relationships and perception.

Author Bio

Kwon Yeo-sun is an award-winning Korean writer. She has won the Sangsang Literary Award, Oh Yeongsu Literature Award, Yi Sang Literary Prize, Hankook Ilbo Literary Award, Tong-ni Literature Prize and Lee Hyo-seok Literary Award. Lemon is her first novel to be published in the English

Translator Bio

Janet Hong is a writer and translator based in Vancouver, Canada. She received the TA First Translation Prize and the 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 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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