“Lemon”

The murder, the accused, the emotions, the residual

“Lemon” is the story of a murder of a young girl, still unsolved after many years but not forgotten. This is not a traditional crime fiction search for the perpetrator; it is the story of those who remain — those accused, traumatized, and transformed by this one terrible act. The novel is organized as a hodgepodge of first-person narratives, mostly by the main character, Kim Da-on; other points of view appear as well. Some chapters are structured as detached observations of events and individuals while others are full of personal and intimate details. The title of each chapter reflects both the date of the events and the concerns of each narrator at that point in time. There are casual conversations and ordinary events, as well as the disclosure of deep fears and doubts. 

“Lemon” is a short book, quick to read, but hard to forget. It is filled with little snippets in time that reflect the big picture of life; what happened in the past never goes away. It is emotional, intense, and often just creepy.  I received a review copy of “Lemon” from Kwon Yeo-Son, and Other Press. The translation by Janet Hong is clear and consistent, however, my own unfamiliarity with Korean names made me work a little to keep track of the characters. “Lemon” is an unforgettable journey with an emotional punch.