"You-Jeong Jeong’s The Good Son is a precise, meticulously plotted thriller that is occasionally too precise and meticulous for its own good.
The novel begins with its protagonist, Yu-jin, waking up in his room covered in blood. He suffers from seizures. He has vague memories of the night before. When he goes downstairs, he finds his mother dead, and soon he convinces himself that the two of them had fought earlier, her in a rage, him defending himself. Soon, his adopted brother shows up. Then his aunt. Then the police. Those encounters are each fraught with tension, and the tension comes from Jeong’s prose, which spares not a single word.
This is a book of questions. It’s a book of mystery, too, but a good portion of it consists of Yu-jin talking to himself, trying to figure out what’s going on. For example: “Was that it? Did she witness the young woman being killed? Where could that have been? The docks? The sea wall?” Or: “Auntie’s words didn’t leave my head even when I went to the shower, toothbrush in my mouth. Something special. How did she know that when even I hadn’t known it until just now? Did she medicate me to suppress my nature, which craved that special something?”
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