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Publisher's Summary

In this tense, gripping novel by a star of Korean literature, Oghi wakes 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.

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.

The winner of the Shirley Jackson Award and a best seller in Korea, 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.

©2018 Hye-Young Pyun (P)2020 Dreamscape Media, LLC

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Kept me interested but left me disappointed at the end.

There was a lot of tension and suspense in this story, with a feeling of dread the whole way through. It was very disturbing seeing through Oghi’s eyes, the feeling of having absolutely no control over anything in his life.

I don’t know if something was lost in translation, but I felt like there really wasn’t enough information about certain characters and their motivations. Also the way the car crash scene was written, I didn’t really understand what exactly had happened, who was at fault.

The ending left me disappointed unfortunately.

People have compared this to Misery by Stephen King, and I think that is a valid comparison.

There is a similar feeling of dread, but I guess I prefer King’s overt, violent, explicitly explained version more than this, which was more subtle, slow-moving and had ending that didn’t really address the questions raised.

It was definitely thought-provoking but I think it was just a little too subtle for me.



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  • Wendy Davidson
  • 25-03-2021

an odd but worthwhile read

definitely weird. definitely interesting. it's a bit like watching a wreck take place; you know what's going to happen but you can't look away. overall, I'm glad I read it.

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  • Melissa Eisner
  • 02-02-2021

really dark stuff

what a beautiful book. the reader is great. very sad and dismal, a good book for lonely reading. fantastic.

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  • S. G.
  • 30-09-2020

Started quietly...

It's a beautifully written (and translated) book. I wouldn't call it a thriller or a mystery, but it keeps you on the edge of your seat in the last half. It's impossible to put down. The characters are exceptionally developed and you can't help but have strong feelings towards them although the book is so short. The end leaves you with more questions and mild anxiety. A credit well spent.

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