The Korea Herald

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[New in Korean] Bora Chung walks line between romance and horror in previously unreleased debut novel

By Hwang Dong-hee

Published : May 27, 2023 - 16:01

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“The Fox” by Bora Chung (Potion) “The Fox” by Bora Chung (Potion)

“The Fox”

By Bora Chung

Potion

Bora Chung, author of “Cursed Bunny,” a 2022 Booker Prize International finalist, has finally released her unpublished debut work, “The Fox.” Despite winning the prize in the mobile category of the 2008 Digital Literature Awards, which was discontinued in 2012, the book never made it to print.

Now published by Potion, a genre literature imprint of Itta Publishing, the novel is a reinterpretation of the tale of a nine-tailed fox, commonly known as “gumiho,” from Korean folklore, which can freely transform into a beautiful woman who sets out to seduce men and eat their liver.

The story embodies a unique blend of romantic comedy, fantasy and horror: Gi-jun, a private academy instructor who commutes on the late-night bus, falls in love with Ji-eun, a nine-tailed fox working as a makeup artist, nurse and an instructor, but soon ghosts start to threaten the main characters.

Chung’s narrative goes beyond the typical legend-inspired tale, as she delves into the intricate and complicated aspects of love. The readers are left questioning whether Gi-jun truly loves Ji-eun, if he is bewitched. Or from the fox’s perspective, does she genuinely love Gi-jun.

Chung wrote in the author’s note that she first wrote the story while her grandmother was hospitalized due to a stroke. “The Fox” serves as an ode to her grandmother, who appears as Gi-jun’s grandmother in the story. She opposes his marriage to the fox out of concern for his well-being, but collapses, leading Gi-jun to struggle to save her life.