Winner of the Munhakdongne Novel Award, South Korea's most prestigious literary prize.
Cabinet 13 looks exactly like any normal filing cabinet…Except this cabinet is filled with files on the ‘symptomers’, humans whose strange abilities and bizarre experiences might just mark the emergence of a new species.
But to Mr Kong, the harried office worker whose job it is to look after the cabinet, the symptomers are a headache; especially the one who won’t stop calling every day, asking to be turned into a cat.
A richly funny and fantastical novel about the strangeness at the heart of even the most everyday lives, from one of South Korea's most acclaimed novelists.
Translated by Sean Lin Halbert
About the Author
Un-Su Kim made his debut as a writer in 2002 through the Jinju News Fall Literary Contest with short stories, Easy Breezy Writing Class and Dan Valjean Street and the 2003 DongA Ilbo Spring Literary Contest with his mid-length novel Farewell, Friday. His first full-length novel The Cabinet received the 12th Munhakdongne Novel Award.
"[A] brilliant mosaic novel...These stories straddle the lines between science fiction, fantasy, fairy tale, and acute reality."
- Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"Deftly translated by award-winning Halbert, Kim’s latest import...again showcases his sly, surreal, dark humor about all the ways humans are, well, not particularly human."
"What begins as a rather whimsical set of stories turns into a much darker novel, raising issues of difference and acceptance, what people must do to survive, and what is truly monstrous."
– the Guardian
"Surprising and enchanting"
– The Washington Post
"Un-su Kim is a tremendous writer."
– Scott Smith, author of A Simple Plan
"This charming and fantastical book is sure to introduce Kim to a whole new legion of weird fiction fans, ideal for readers of Han Kang’s The Vegetarian and the works of Haruki Murakami."
– Chicago Review of Books
"The Cabinet is an anti-capitalist narrative at its core, one that makes explicit the arbitrariness of capitalist expectations and assumptions. Kim deftly juggles both macro-level and micro-level ideas about social roles, purpose, and personal narrative. More of a thought experiment than a thriller, The Cabinet is a lighthearted, amusing read that nonetheless dives into some deep philosophical topics."
– Strange Horizons