The Korea Herald


[New in Korean] Chilling reality overlaps with horror in Bora Chung's stories

By Hwang Dong-hee

Published : July 7, 2023 - 16:46

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"The Midnight Timetable" by Bora Chung (Purplerain)

"The Midnight Timetable"

By Bora Chung


International Booker Prize shortlisted author Bora Chung of "Cursed Bunny" has returned with a new anthology titled "The Midnight Timetable," consisting of seven interconnected stories. Narrated by “I” who works the night shift in a mysterious laboratory, the stories revolve around her colleagues and the strange experiences they encounter during their night shifts.

The security guards follow a night patrol schedule. But there are peculiar safety rules: Phones must be turned off, locked doors must never be opened and, even when you see something unbelievable, pretend you didn't. The stories depict some of the unsettling events that unfold when the rules aren't followed. Rumors circulating among the staff reveal the true nature of the lab: a space that leads dead souls back on their paths.

Chung’s iconic themes of horror and vengeance weave through the stories, of which all the central characters are women.

“Silence of the Sheep” portrays the struggle to escape from a violent husband addicted to gambling. “Why the Cat” tells the story of a woman who was murdered because she wanted to break up. Also, there is a former worker who suffered from industrial accidents, and a victim of sexual assault by her stalker. Unsettling reality overlaps with the horrors of the supernatural, in stories often regularly reported in the news.