“Cursed Bunny is a genre-defying collection of short stories by Korean author Bora Chung. Blurring the lines between magical realism, horror, and science-fiction, Chung uses elements of the fantastic and surreal to address the very real horrors and cruelties of patriarchy and capitalism in modern society.”
The International Booker has always been the literary prize that I’m most drawn to and after seeing the shortlist, Cursed Bunny was definitely the book which stood out to me the most. Through Anton Hur’s brilliant translation, Bora Chung has written ten short stories, all with a surrealist and uncanny feel, that explore the horror and exploitation of different power structures, and how the consequences of this can snowball throughout generations.
The thing that struck me when reading these was just how creative Chung is to have come up with such unique themes for every one of her stories. I won’t spoil the plot for anyone interested in reading Cursed Bunny, but some of her ideas really blew my mind and will stay with me for a very long time. The way Chung moves between genres - from Sci-Fi in 'Goodbye, my love’ to thriller in ‘The Frozen Finger’ and the Weird in ‘The Head’, while still allowing the stories to work well as a collection, takes some real skill.
What I loved most about these stories, aside from their uniqueness, was how unpredictable they were. Call me old fashioned, but I love short stories that have a twist or unexpected ending. Sometimes when I read short stories it isn’t immediately obvious why they were written that length, but it was the perfect form for Chung’s collection. Her stories made me think and not once could I pre-empt what was happening. There was depth in the writing but they still kept you on the edge of your seat.
Korean literature always slaps, but this book in particular I’d recommend if you like Weird short stories or you enjoy horror writing. Great, too, if you’re ever in a reading slump because of how quick these stories are to grab your attention.