Book Review: ‘Cursed Bunny’ by Bora Chung

A rare book with weird stories that question human traits!

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Book Title: Cursed Bunny
Author: Bora Chung
Translated By: Anton Hur
Publisher: Hachette India

Book Review
“Cursed Bunny” by Bora Chung is a collection of stories ranging from horror to mystery to magical realism. It was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize 2022 selection. In Chung’s hands, a classic horror tale is as violent as a thriller and has a bit of melancholy. And the thing is that as the stories go further in the book, each grows weirder and weirder.

Chung employs fantastic and surreal elements to explore modern society’s atrocities and cruelty of dominance and commerce. Anton Hur’s translation expertly catches Chung’s prose’s seamless transition from frightening to wryly hilarious.

Each tale is unique, but they all deal with the unusual similarly. Some stories are absurd, while others are more typical, with the unusual present in both. It is natural to treat other people’s oddities with respect and kindness; occasionally, even odd wishes are to be admired.

Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung Book Cover
Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung Book Cover

It drowns down to the inability to grasp or comprehend when one cannot manage it. This is comparable to society compression caused by social and economic inequity. “Cursed Bunny” contains some exquisite tales that look into this.

The book, renowned for its eerie and unsettling atmosphere, examines themes of dread, grief, and trauma. As the riddle of the curse develops, the story twists and turns; it keeps the reader on the edge of their seat.

The novel’s unusual structure, which includes a creepy and unsettling ambiance, is one of the most noteworthy features. The book has received favorable feedback for its uniqueness, vivid imagery, and ability to keep the reader interested and terrified.

Going further inside the book, the ‘rabbit’ serves as a foreboding metaphor for another subject that runs throughout the novel, beginning with the head in the commode calling out for its mother: the social expectation that women marry and produce children.

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It climaxes in “The Embodiment” when a woman becomes inexplicably pregnant without engaging in sexual activity. She is told coldly at the hospital that she now requires a male companion for the sake of her fetus. The lady is subjected to shaming, abuse, and an increasingly bizarre sequence of matchmaking efforts. Women, in the end, are the cursed rabbits, doomed to procreate.

Korean writing can be challenging to master, so a competent translator is highly recommended. The grotesque language is difficult to write in because of how easily over-the-top it can become, but Chung reins herself in and produces something that could easily be described as horror.

The New York Times stated that – ‘With Bora Chung as Our Guide, We Walk Ourselves Into the Trap’ and Los Angeles Times said, ‘ In a Korean author’s U.S. debut, uncanny pleasures rear their ugly heads’.

Finally, “Cursed Bunny” is an excellent compilation of ghost tales, self-sustaining independent body parts, and blood that changes to gold. Each story is unique: some are more horror-oriented, while others are more realistic with a hint of the surreal. This novel is a lot of joy to read and thus is highly recommended.

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Storizen Magazine March 2023 Cover - Anuja Chandramouli
Storizen Magazine March 2023 Cover – Anuja Chandramouli

Read more book reviews in our March 2023 Issue featuring Anuja Chandramouli