I read Lemon only a few days ago and yet I can barely recall what it was about. Which isn’t a good sign. According to the summary, this was meant to be a suspenseful work exploring trauma, grief, and guilt but to be perfectly honest, it was anything but suspenseful and its themes felt barely touched upon. This short narrative consists of various chapters narrated by different characters connected to Kim Hae-on, a beautiful young girl killed during the summer of 2002. The story opens with Hae-on being interrogated by a detective in what seems to be a poor take on a police procedural. The remainder of Lemon consists of other characters talking about this murder. They all seem to have way too much information about the investigation and other events (events they did not witness first-hand) and that resulted in me feeling relatively disengaged and disbelieving of their words/accounts. We don’t know who’s speaking as each chapter doesn’t specify who’s pov we are reading and that quickly became annoying, especially since their voices sounded suspiciously similarly. There were two chapters that are meant to be one side of a phone conversation and these ones were so over the top. The way the person we were ‘hearing’ just happens to repeat the questions of the person at the end of the line (“Pardon me? What did you say, Doctor? What am I doing right now? Talking to you, of course.”)…why just not include both ends of this conversation?
I’m afraid I found this novel’s execution lacking. The characters, if we can call them such, are barely there, the narrative more intent on impressing readers through the way these various accounts are structured than on presenting us with an intriguing mystery.
Many of the phrases struck as me clichèd (here the translation may be to blame) and/or banal “Life begins without reason and ends without reason”, “her beauty seemed not of this world”, “What kind of life is this? Is this living?”. Then there were the odd phrases that I found really annoying in that they”. Some of the descriptions also rubbed me the wrong way because they were going for an edgy tone (“the hairy black patch between my legs”) or were simply a bit antiquated (call me a snowflake or whatever but i wish this expression ceased existing: “joined together like a set of Siamese twins”).
If you are interested in Lemon I recommend you check out more positive reviews as I have 0 positive things to say about this.
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
my rating: ★★☆☆☆
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