If you are a Korean literature lover and you also like the thriller genre, you should read the novel The good son – “종의 기원” in its original language-, which is one of the most recognized books by the South Korean author You-Jeong Jeong, who was born in 1966. She is known as the “Korean Stephen King” for the remarkable books of intrigue and suspense that she has given to her audience, both Korean and international, since her books have been translated into more than ten languages.
The good son was published in 2016 and has been translated into Spanish by Luis Alfredo De Los Frailes Álvaro. In its 312 pages, the author takes you on a journey to a totally dark world. The novel takes place in Kundo, a city in South Korea, which, according to the author, was “nestled between the mountains, the sea, and the boardwalk. People called it the “Ghost City” (You, 2019, p. 74), since at that time the city of Kundo was barely developing, so its population was minimal.
The protagonist of this story is Han Yu Jin, a boy who had a really promising future as an Olympic swimmer, which he had to give up due to an illness that impeded him from continuing with his dream. One day, the protagonist wakes up wrapped by a metallic smell coming from the blood that surrounded him, accompanied by the cries for help from his mother. Going down the stairs, Yu Jin would find a bloody scene and the body of his mother, Kim Ji Won, lying in the hallway. Yu Jin doesn’t remember any of the events of the previous night because for several days he had not taken his prescribed “epilepsy” medicine, thus leaving him in a confused mental state of mind. Throughout the plot, Yu Jin gradually remembers what happened, and reconstructing the events, with the help of his mother’s diary, he remembers important events from his childhood and throughout his life that would mark him.
The narration of the novel is carried out in the first person by Yu Jin, the protagonist, who through his memories, fragmented memories and his mother’s diary tells us, from his perspective, the story of what happened that day. However, something a little bit particular is that the type of narration used plays with the reader’s mind, creating a bond of empathy with the protagonist, filling them with confusion and imaginary scenarios about the story and the possible culprits of what happened.
The good son will make the reader question: can a half-truth be the trigger for a series of atrocious events? For this reason, the book is a great recommendation for thriller lovers, since You-Jeong Jeong will immerse them in a dark and deep story, with a style of narration and writing that will not allow you to leave the book halfway.
You-J. De Los Frailes. A. (2019). 종의 기원 (El Buen Hijo). Titivillus.
Sulwhasoo (s.f.). Twitter You-Jeong Jeong. https://www.sulwhasoo.com/int/en/experience/sulwhasoo_style/jeong-yoo-jung.html
Written by: Adriana Carmen Mercado León
Reviewed by: Luisa Quintero