Book Review – Diary of a murderer

Diary of a murderer by Kim Young-Ha
Translated by: Krys Lee
Published: April 16th 2019 by Mariner Books
Genre: Fiction, thriller, suspense cultural – Korea
Pages: 208

“It’s been twenty-five years since I last murdered someone, or has it been twenty-six?”

Diary of a murderer is a short story collection comprised of four short stories where the titular and first story reigns supreme to everything I have ever read!

It’s a funny, sad, beautiful and scary story of a serial killer that is suffering from Alzheimers disease. He writes a journal to learn from his mistakes, he writes poetry about his murders and he writes notes to remember what he needs to do. He’s adamant about having to kill his adopted daughters husband before he forgets that he has to. Or worse yet, why!

It balances so brilliantly on the line between black comedy and suspense that I wish I could read it again for the first time and suck on every single word. That’s a rare read for me. It’s the kind of book that if you fold the corners of the books when you read something interesting, inspiring or beautiful the book would double in size from folded corners. Also, the more you think about it, the more brilliant it gets.

“There isn’t much I do well. I excel at only one thing, but it’s the kind I can’t brag about. Think of the countless people who end up in the grave proud of something they can never share with others.”

The book as a whole is difficult to review because the stories are so different and the first one out hit me just right in every way. The remaining three didn’t quite do it for me, but I’d say the book is still worth it. I’ll definitely look around for more translated books by Kim Young-ha, he knows very well how to set up a narrative and have you running laps just gawking at the words on the pages. I’m not even going to share this book or even lend it to anyone. It stays in the very limited “favorite” pile of books that I can read over and over and over and over… maybe with time I’ll find new things in the other three stories as well.

“People live much longer on average than they used to. You should be prepared for the danger of living too long.”