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.
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.
'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