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The Hole (2016)

by Pyun Hye-young

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1777127,406 (3.32)13
Winner of the 2017 Shirley Jackson Award Named One of the Top 10 Thrillers to Read This Summer by Time Magazine. In this tense, gripping novel by a rising star of Korean literature, Oghi has woken from a coma after causing a devastating car accident that took his wife's life and left him paralyzed and badly disfigured. His caretaker is his mother-in-law, a widow grieving the loss of her only child. Oghi is neglected and left alone in his bed. His world shrinks to the room he lies in and his memories of his troubled relationship with his wife, a sensitive, intelligent woman who found all of her life goals thwarted except for one: cultivating the garden in front of their house. But soon Oghi notices his mother-in-law in the abandoned garden, uprooting what his wife had worked so hard to plant and obsessively digging larger and larger holes. When asked, she answers only that she is finishing what her daughter started. A bestseller in Korea, award-winning author Hye-young Pyun's The Hole is a superbly crafted and deeply unnerving novel about the horrors of isolation and neglect in all of its banal and brutal forms. As Oghi desperately searches for a way to escape, he discovers the difficult truth about his wife and the toll their life together took on her.… (more)
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» See also 13 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
This short novel (under 5 hours on audio) is narrated by a man, Oghi, after he wakes from a coma. He has been in a serious car accident and his wife has died. He is paralyzed and cannot speak, but is otherwise stable. His own parents are deceased, and it is his mother-in-law who takes over his care. She arranges for a caregiver, doctors appointments, and all the equipment he needs.
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This little novel is quite interesting. Pyun does a good job of putting Oghi's shock at his new life into his narration. His grief seems most intense when thinking about regular things he can no longer do, the book he will never get to write. But with hours and hours to lay and think, he spends a lot of time thinking about his wife and their relationship--and maybe he is a little more unreliable than he seemed at first. And maybe this explains some of his mother-in-law's increasingly strange behavior. ( )
  Dreesie | Mar 12, 2021 |
A slow first half with some exceedingly boring flashbacks really dragged it down. The last half had some truly terrifying moments. If it wasn't so short it would've been really difficult to get through. ( )
  Yeti21 | Oct 29, 2020 |
Went back and forth between 2 and 3 stars but settled on 3 because I like the premise and atmosphere of this book and it is done well in places. Some of the chapters, though, when Oghi is looking back seemed to get wordy, which is kind of odd for such a short book. Also, what is up with the absolutely clueless physical therapist? ( )
  jensteele | Apr 11, 2020 |
I picked this up at random on my library's new book shelf, and I'm glad I did. This is a seriously creepy short novel that plays with themes of abandonment both physical and emotional. The atmosphere is foreboding from the start and grows darker as the story builds. This is a quick read, but it has stayed with me since I finished it. ( )
  duchessjlh | Jun 30, 2019 |
I think this is one of those horror novels that does its work on you after you finish reading it. I can't say I entirely "got" it, but I think it is subversive. The writing felt quite claustrophobic, and the suspense was a slow burn. By the end of it, I had no sympathy for Oghi. I believe this was the author's intent. ( )
  sturlington | Feb 22, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pyun Hye-youngprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kim-Russell, SoraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Oghi slowly opened his eyes.
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Winner of the 2017 Shirley Jackson Award Named One of the Top 10 Thrillers to Read This Summer by Time Magazine. In this tense, gripping novel by a rising star of Korean literature, Oghi has woken from a coma after causing a devastating car accident that took his wife's life and left him paralyzed and badly disfigured. His caretaker is his mother-in-law, a widow grieving the loss of her only child. Oghi is neglected and left alone in his bed. His world shrinks to the room he lies in and his memories of his troubled relationship with his wife, a sensitive, intelligent woman who found all of her life goals thwarted except for one: cultivating the garden in front of their house. But soon Oghi notices his mother-in-law in the abandoned garden, uprooting what his wife had worked so hard to plant and obsessively digging larger and larger holes. When asked, she answers only that she is finishing what her daughter started. A bestseller in Korea, award-winning author Hye-young Pyun's The Hole is a superbly crafted and deeply unnerving novel about the horrors of isolation and neglect in all of its banal and brutal forms. As Oghi desperately searches for a way to escape, he discovers the difficult truth about his wife and the toll their life together took on her.

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Arcade Publishing

An edition of this book was published by Arcade Publishing.

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