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Head of Zeus
Lemon
04 Aug 2022 * PAPERBACK * £8.99 * 9781800241497

Focusing on the unsolved murder of teenage girl, this literary novel offers insights into gender, class and privilege in Seoul, and marks the English-language debut for award-winning Korean author, Kwon Yeo-sun.

Fiction / FA (Fiction)
Extent: 176 pages  Format: 198 x 129 mm
Exclusive: GB AU NZ IN ZA SG   Not for sale: CA US
Lemonby Kwon Yeo-sun, translated by Janet Hong

This is not a murder story. It is the story of those left behind.

Parasite meets The Good Son in this piercing psychological portrait of three women haunted by a brutal, unsolved crime.

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.

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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'Discovering whodunnit isn't really the point here; Lemon is a subtle, often intense meditation on the after-effects of violence' Guardian

'Chilling, suspenseful and disconcerting ... I couldn't put it down and read deep into the night until I finished it, with my heart hammering' Frances Cha, author of If I Had Your Face

'Lemon is a chilling yet deeply moving story about grief, trauma, life, death, and the shattered pieces left behind by those who are gone. The humanity of Kwon's characters will break your heart on every page' An Yu, author of Braised Pork

'A haunting literary crime story ... Razor-sharp observations of class, gender and privilege in contemporary Korea' Cosmopolitan

'Jolts with its brilliance and tartness. It's simply electric' Kyung-sook Shin, author of Please Look After Mother

'A confounding masterpiece ... One of the most profound page-turners you will ever encounter' Matthew Salesses, author of Craft in the Real World

'Charming, beguiling, and unique ... Lemon, like a great painting, makes you see the world differently' Patrick Hoffman, author of Clean Hands and Every Man a Menace

'This fascinating, psychologically astute vignette about grief, blame and searching for the truth delivers piercing emotional depth in unique and elegant style' LoveReading

'A sharp, explosive novel that challenges the reader to consider the impact of beauty standards in our culture on young people, and compels us to examine our notion of what justice can be when we are faced with the unthinkable. Highly recommended' Han Clark, Lunate.co.uk

'Lemon is a strange, haunting book, an elegant hybrid of crime novel and psychological thriller, the story of an overlooked sister obsessively picking over the tantalising facts of her sister's unsolved murder' Patrick Gale

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 language.

English language debut from award-winning Korean author.

Growing market for K-lit in the UK.

Fascinating insight into life in Korea, touching on issues of class, gender and privilege.

MARKET: Cho Nam-Joo (Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982); Frances Cha (If I Had Your Face); Parasite (film); My Sister the Serial Killer.


'A haunting literary crime story ... Razor-sharp observations of class, gender and privilege in contemporary Korea, this page turner is one for fans of Diary of a Murderer: And Other Stories' Cosmopolitan

'With taut, steely prose, Kwon burrows into the details surrounding the shocking murder of a beautiful girl. Though Lemon takes the form of a mystery and there's psychological suspense that will grip you all the way to the end, it isn't just a whodunnit. Hidden on every page are explorations of grief and guilt, how one should go on after a tragedy. It jolts with its brilliance and tartness. It's simply electric' Kyung-sook Shin, author of Please Look After Mother and I'll Be Right There

'With taut, crisp writing, Kwon Yeo-sun deftly walks the tightrope of psychological suspense, and at the same time transcends the well-known framework of the crime novel to explore the emotional depths of grief, guilt, privilege, and trauma. A smart, well-crafted page-turner' Tami Hoag, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Boy

'Kwon Yeo-sun's Lemon is a gripping mystery with an eccentric and thought-provoking edge. It's quite the unputdownable read!' June Hur, author of The Silence of Bones and The Forest of Stolen Girls

'Lemon is a deliciously rewarding novel that delves into assumptions about power, wealth, beauty, love, ability, and right to compensation. How well do we know each other? How do we move on from violent loss? I'm in awe of Kwon's gorgeous prose and intricately crafted mystery at the heart of this elegant thriller' Jimin Han, author of A Small Revolution

'Though the narrative takes the form of a detective novel, it becomes a meditation on envy, grief and, this being South Korea, plastic surgery. Understated yet lingeringly eerie' Guardian

'Chilling, suspenseful and disconcerting. A story of taking things into one's own hands, when driven to despair by injustice and grief. I couldn't put it down and read deep into the night until I finished it, with my heart hammering' Frances Cha, author of If I Had Your Face

'Kwon Yeo-sun quickly cracks open the secret rivalries between teenage girls to reveal an unending silent scream of loneliness, cruelty, and nihilism that goes on to permeate their adult lives. What a jet-black switchblade of a book!' Sandi Tan, director of Shirkers and author of Lurkers

'A chilling yet deeply moving story about grief, trauma, life, death, and the shattered pieces left behind by those who are gone. The humanity of Kwon's characters will break your heart on every page' An Yu, author of Braised Pork

'Charming, beguiling, and unique. At the heart of this 'mystery' is a poetic meditation on grief, guilt, and the meaning of life. In the end, Lemon, like a great painting, makes you see the world differently' Patrick Hoffman, author of Clean Hands and Every Man a Menace

'A confounding masterpiece, Lemon is a meditation on grief, death, beauty, God, and art, wrapped in the mourning clothes of a murder mystery. One of the most profound page-turners you will ever encounter, and the first English translation of a major Korean author who should be on everyone's radar' Matthew Salesses, author of Craft in the Real World

'It's a sly, subtle piece of literary crime, carefully playing on its shifting perspectives to unsettling effect. An intriguing read' Wiltshire Living

'Had me gripped from the start ... The author's skill is to drop a hint as to who did the deed, but then retain our interest through deft portrait-painting of the different characters in the story (narrators and otherwise), presenting us with motivations and suspicions that conflict with our provisional view' London Korean Links

'A darkly thriller-ish tale ... With no motive and no culprit, the crime remains a mystery, and Yeo-sun teasingly leaves her reader to join these and other dots. However, it is the (apparently) incidental details that linger longest, and most unsettlingly, in the mind' Daily Mail

'Strangely absorbing ... Where Lemon really shines is in its portrayal of grief and guilt, which feels so raw and complicated – as it is in real life. It doesn't offer up any real closure or resolution either, but perhaps that's just like life too' Culture Fly

'Some beautiful prose, and interesting statements to make about grief, guilt and tragedy ... In fact, in a book where the catalyst is a mysterious unsolved murder, the murder is actually the least interesting thing about the whole story' Cultured Vultures

'Parasite meets The Good Son. Lemon is not just about finding the culprit but it also explores privilege, trauma and loss' Tatler

'A piercing psychological portrait that takes the shape of a crime novel and is a must-read novel of 2021' London Korean Links

'Discovering whodunnit isn't really the point here; Lemon is a subtle, often intense meditation on the after-effects of violence' Guardian

'From award-winning Korean author Kwon Yeo-sun, Lemon is an atmospheric crime novel that addresses wealth, privilege, grief, and the power to take matters into one's own hands ... A disconcerting yet powerful narrative unfolds' Happy Mag

'A multilayered whodunit that's so much more – and that's the genius of this well-crafted short work by Korean author Kwon Yeo-sun ... Kwon is not so intent on ferreting out the killer as she is examining gender, social status, advantage, jealousy, religion, and revenge in the High School Beauty Murder, a cold case from 2002' The Woven Tale Press

'A masterfully crafted novel of grief's maddening proportions' Asymptote Journal

'A compelling read which exposure class gender and privilege in contemporary Korea' Arbutarian

'Tension galore in this Korean-set crime drama ... Award-winning author Kwon Yeo-Sun's first English-language novel, this is exactly the sort of wintry noir to curl up by the fire with as the nights start drawing in. Just the thing for the true-crime lover in your life' Stylist. Stylist

'A headscratcher, ideal for those who like to emerge from a book full of doubts as to what just happened' Strong Words

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