Monday Musings, Recommended Readings
Comments 4

Living with life’s wrongs

No visit to Alameda, California, would be complete without a stop at Books, Inc. We were in town for a few days to visit our daughter Claire, and just as on my first visit last spring to this charming Bay Area community, I quickly made a beeline on Friday morning for the West’s oldest independent bookseller.

While there, I picked up a short novel with a New York Times Book Review blurb on the cover about the hypnotic effect of the writer in this work that was “easy to devour in one sitting.” Some three hours later, I turned the last page, wishing there was more.

Lemon (2021) is the first novel translated into English by the Korean writer Kwon Yeo-sun. A crime novel in structure, it is much more in fact. The story revolves around the murder years earlier of a beautiful 18-year-old woman and how the case turns cold when the two prime suspects cannot be convicted. Yet the murdered woman’s sister begins her own journey to find the truth, a journey that intersects with the lives and fears of two other women also haunted by the incident. As many reviewers have noted, Yeo-sun’s writing is taut, pulling the reader along page-after-page to follow the unfolding, complicated, and contradictory paths each of the women take.

The whodunnit style is merely a device to have the reader consider issues of fear, guilt, grief, and trauma. It is, in the end, a work to consider how we cope and eventually go on after trauma. It is also, as more than one review has noted, a “shrewd diagnosis of a culture that disempowers women — commodifying and consuming them, one after another, until their appeal wears out.” 

Yet another in my ongoing effort to find and hear new voices, Lemon is among the best I’ve discovered on this journey. I suspect that Kwon Yeo-sun is a writer we’ll continue to hear from in the years ahead.

More to come…


Image by Doynov from Pixabay

This entry was posted in: Monday Musings, Recommended Readings


I am David J. Brown (hence the DJB) and I originally created this personal blog more than ten years ago as a way to capture photos and memories from a family vacation. After the trip was over I simply continued writing. Over the years the blog has changed to have a more definite focus aligned with my interest in places that matter, reading well, roots music, and more. My professional background is as a national nonprofit leader with a four-decade record of growing and strengthening organizations at local, state, and national levels. This work has been driven by my passion for connecting people in thriving, sustainable, and vibrant communities.


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