City of Ash and Red

City of Ash and Red

For fans of J. G. Ballard and early Ian McEwan, a tense psychological thriller and Kafkaesque parable by the author of The Hole?called ?an airtight masterpiece? by the Korean Economic Daily. Distinguished for his talents as a rat killer, the nameless protagonist of Hye-young Pyun's City of Ash and Red is sent by the extermination company he works for on an extended assignm For fans of J. G. Ballard and early Ian McEwan, a tense psychological thriller and Kafkaesque parable by the au...

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Title:City of Ash and Red
Author:Hye-Young Pyun
Rating:
Genres:Fiction
ISBN:1628727810
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:256 pages pages

City of Ash and Red Reviews

  • Tony
    Jan 18, 2019
    I read Hye-Young Pyun's 'The Hole' and really liked it, enough so that it made my 2018 Top-Ten List. So I was happy to see this second novel of hers published in translation. This promised horror and allegory and Kafkaesque-ness. And, for reasons that are unimportant, I have an interes...
  • Justin Howe
    Mar 03, 2019
    If you like Thomas Ligotti and get turned on by abjection you'll like this. Otherwise, you should probably stay away. What kept me reading, despite strongly disliking the abject Ligotti style, is that I felt like this was a Korean writer trying to write the POV of an expat living in...
  • OutlawPoet
    Nov 12, 2018
    Sometimes you read and love a book, but when you have to explain it to someone, you fumble for words. This is one of those books. In City of Ash and Red, we have a pandemic. It's a quiet one, but a deadly one. Our main character, who remains nameless, is promoted, but that promotion...
  • Adam
    Feb 24, 2019
    Intriguing, weird book about a nameless man who travels to another country for work, and immediately a series of terrible events affect him. While he's a sympathetic character, he's also guilty of many terrible things himself, as are revealed in his internal reflections and memories. I...
  • Kirsten
    Apr 30, 2019
    It's not that I actually really liked this as that it is very good. It's very Kafka-esque. In an interview the author said she was influenced by Kafka, and more influenced by other Korean writers. I'm not familiar enough with Korean fiction to know how much other Korean writers affecte...
  • Kathie
    Nov 23, 2018
    Rounded up from 3.5. City of Ash & Red is the first translated book I?ve read this year and had me all over the spectrum emotionally, mostly in the anxious and disturbed realm. There are certainly nods to Kafka, but the tale itself is a unique blend of dystopian surrealism that i...
  • Joseph Spuckler
    Oct 09, 2018
    City of Ash and Red is a Korean story that strikes fear and uneasiness into the reader. The unnamed lead character and narrator works for an extermination company. He's not the best employee but gets to work at the big office in Country C. Countries and cities are represented by single...
  • Lee Gingras
    Feb 08, 2019
    This started out super strong but then dragged and fizzled out at the end. It has a kafkaesque vibe for sure, but I?m most reminded of Camus and other existentialist writers. I think it?s very hard to write an existentialist novel that doesn?t fall into typical story arc while co...
  • Maxwell
    May 29, 2019
    This is a disgusting novel?and I mean that literally. The setting, the atmosphere, and the main character inspire disgust. It's an odd thing to read something that seems to make you want to hate everything about it, yet is still compulsively readable. The translation is excellent and...
  • Annie
    Oct 09, 2018
    The beginning of Hye-young Pyun?s novel, City of Ash and Red, (translated by Sora Kim-Russell), terrified me because it presents one of my worst fears. An unnamed man arrives in a foreign city to take up a job, only to end up without his phone, documents, most of his possessions, and...
  • Steve
    Apr 21, 2019
    I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Very strange book. No real plot or explanation of why things were happening. Not my cup of tea right now, but I may come back and reread this one if only to try to understand it a little better. ...
  • Adam
    Dec 20, 2018
    4.5 stars Well, I have no idea what I just read, but I loved almost every word of it. Make no mistake, this book is not for the faint of heart or queasy of stomach. This is a sometimes brutal and disgusting novel, but yet one that kept me captivated and on the edge of every next wor...
  • Silvia Moreno-Garcia
    Nov 13, 2018
    I've taken to calling it High-Rise if J.G. Ballard took on a whole neighborhood instead of just one luxury apartment building. See my full review at NPR: https://www.npr.org/2018/11/10/665751... ...
  • DeAnna Knippling
    May 25, 2019
    A tale of madness, woe, trash, and rats. This is a particular type of story that one sees from time to time, sometimes overt, but more usually hidden. I hadn't seen a Korean one before, so I wasn't expecting it, and didn't catch on until I finished. Everything in the book is nicely ...
  • Julie
    Feb 14, 2019
    If you enjoy reading a book that centers around a nasty person living in a sewer in a foreign country where he has trouble communicating while trying to survive a epidemic that has caused the city to be a huge garbage dump, and the killing of rats is pretty much all that transpires, we...
  • Katrina
    Oct 12, 2018
    Major kudos to both the author and translator for crafting such a compelling tale full of unease and disorientation. City of Ash and Red is one of the far superior modern novels with a dystopian theme I've read in a long time. Perhaps that is due to the fact that the setting is not the...
  • Daniel Polansky
    Jan 14, 2019
    A faintly-drawn corporate stooge goes to work as a rat killer in a foreign country, finds himself embroiled in a Kafkaesque nightmare of moral and environmental collapse. Unpleasant but utterly predictable. I didn?t get a lot from this, except for a few facts about rats ...
  • Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)
    Mar 03, 2019
    A contagious disease in an unnamed country is upsetting the balance of society, and our unnamed narrator, who thinks he is moving to this country for a job opportunity instead gets lost in a tangled web of bureaucracy, mountains of trash and the vermin that come with it, and questions ...
  • Kendra
    Nov 12, 2018
    I can't tell if this was supposed to be dismal or absurdist or both. A nameless male protagonist whose work centers around killing pests is sent to work in a similarly unnamed city far from home, where society has crumbled and the city is filled with trash and pestilence. The protagoni...
  • Shall I Download A Black Hole And Offer It To You
    May 10, 2019
    skip the Kafka and Ballard comparisons for this one, not because i hate the idea of comparing authors based on simple plot devices (which i do), but because this book is rather average, and Kafka didn't do average (haven't read any Ballard, so can't say anything about his output)... i ...
  • Faith
    Nov 19, 2018
    This was a very strange book, but I don?t mean that as a criticism. In a way I think that the blurb gives away too much and it might be better to read it after you have read the book. The unnamed protagonist, referred to only as ?the man?, is sent for management training to the h...
  • Natalie
    Jan 02, 2019
    ?. . . being the same as everyone else meant not having to think about your own existence. It meant that, other than becoming infected and having your everyday life ruined, you had nothing to fear.? From a life of tedium in a corporate job to a life of tedium as a homeless rat ...
  • Katie Cooper
    Jan 11, 2019
    Truly one of the strangest novels I've ever read. I'm a big believer that the main character of a story doesn't have to be inherently good, so perhaps that's why I still managed to enjoy this story. The main character is hardly ever sympathetic, if at all. His lack of morality fits ...
  • Leah Andrews
    May 06, 2019
    Maybe I didn't really get it. This is an unsettling book. The unnamed main character (not sure if he can really be called a protagonist) works for a pest control company and relocates to an unnamed city in an unnamed country during an outbreak of a contagious disease. It's hard for m...
  • Marjorie
    Oct 20, 2018
    The unnamed narrator is known for his talents as a rat killer. The extermination company he works for has given him what many consider to be a promotion and is sent to Country C. However, when the man gets to Country C, he finds its streets are overrun with rats and piled high with rot...
  • Isabelle
    Jan 22, 2019
    I received a free copy of this book through Edelweiss for review purposes. This does not affect my rating or opinions. 1.5 stars. Definitely not because that's the only rating I haven't given out yet this year and I want to even out my book stats bar graph. Honestly, I never mean...
  • Vangluss
    May 08, 2019
    Following the literary tradition of surreal (and often horrific) writers like Kobo Abe, Kafka, and a pinch of Indra Das, this horror novel by Mrs. Pyun is the worthwhile next of kin. The best parts of this book were how strong the mood and obedience to the themes were. In the style of ...
  • ❄️Nani❄️
    Dec 09, 2018
    4.5? Once again, what an incredibly immersive yet eerily uncomfortable read. The main character, just like in The Hole is an absolute shithead. Really, a first-rate douchebag yet you can?t help but feel a little... sympathy? Towards him. How does she create characters that...
  • Jenn
    Dec 13, 2018
    I HATE rats! So that made parts of this book a very hard read for me. But once I forced myself through the rat parts I enjoyed the Kafkaeqsue the main character was on. He was a pretty bad person but somehow his journey made you forget that and root for him (at least I did). I'm not en...
  • Alan Sanie
    Jul 06, 2019
    For fans of J. G. Ballard and early Ian McEwan, a tense psychological thriller and Kafkaesque parable by the author of The Hole?called "an airtight masterpiece" by the Korean Economic Daily. Distinguished for his talents as a rat killer, the nameless protagonist of Hye-young Pyun's ...