Even though the term dystopian was first coined in the 1740s by historian George Claeys, dystopian fiction novels did not become fully defined until the turn of the twentieth century. Written in 1921, Yevgeny Zamyatin’s social satire We laid the foundations for the genre that is now ubiquitous: dystopian fiction. Zamyatin’s We imagines a future … Continue reading We

Diary of a Murderer

Kim Young-ha is an acclaimed writer in Korea. His works have been translated into English and other languages. Diary of a Murderer is a collection of four short stories ranging from suspenseful thrillers to ruminative explorations of human nature. The book opens with a thrilling titular story about a seventy-year old man, Kim Byeongsu, who … Continue reading Diary of a Murderer

The Dry

When I feel like reading an atmospheric and gritty crime fiction novel, my mind takes me to the cold and snowy landscape that is Scandinavian or Nordic noir. Jane Harper’s gripping debut novel, The Dry, shows that the heat of the Australian outback is as good place as any for a good mystery story. Set … Continue reading The Dry


“History has failed us, but no matter” is the opening line of Min Jin Lee’s novel Pachinko. This sweeping, historical, and immersive family saga delves deeply into the experiences of Korean immigrants in Japan between 1910 and 1989. The story begins in a small fishing village in Yeongdo, Korea. There, we are introduced to fishermen, … Continue reading Pachinko

Mouthful of Birds

Samanta Schweblin’s collection of twenty short stories, Mouthful of Birds, weaves between the realm of the real and the strange, exploring the deepest abyss of human psyche. These grotesque and surreal stories serve as a representation of the reality we live in. They question societal structures, norms, attitudes, and expectations. They examine how a person … Continue reading Mouthful of Birds

Among the Shadows

In Bruce Robert Coffin’s Among the Shadows, Portland, Maine’s gritty and dark atmosphere plays a starring role alongside an emotionally conflicted detective sergeant as he investigates the murders of multiple retired Portland police officers. Coffin’s debut novel is written with the type of confidence found in the best examples of police procedural fiction.   The story follows Detective Sergeant John Byron as … Continue reading Among the Shadows

Spinning Silver

Set in Lithvas, a fictional country in Eastern Europe, Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver follows the story of a moneylender’s daughter as she strives to survive in medieval England. Living in abject poverty, Miryem decides to take over her father’s failing moneylending business. She is quite successful at it that soon she attracts the attention of … Continue reading Spinning Silver

The White Book

Han Kang, the author of the 2016 Man Booker Prize-winning The Vegetarian, has written a new novel, The White Book, which explores life and death through the lens of a single color—white. The White Book follows an unnamed narrator as she looks upon her own life and its meaning through the prism of “white.” In … Continue reading The White Book