Book Notification

Bora Chung Books In Order

Book links take you to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn money from qualifying purchases.

Publication Order of Collections

Bora Chung is a South Korean author popularly known for her International Booker Prize award shortlisted short story collection book Cursed Bunny. She was born and raised in Seoul. Her two parents were dentists. She attended Yale University, majoring in Russian and East European area studies. Bora later attended Indiana University, earning a PhD in Slavic literature. She has taught literature, the Russian language, and science fiction studies at Yonsei University. She has also served as a social activist. Bora Chung has authored three novels and three short story collections. She draws influences from influential authors such as Park Wan-Suh, Bruno Jasieński, Bruno Schulz, and Lyudmila Petrushevskaya, Andrei Platonov.

In 1998, Bora Chung won the Yonsei Literature Prize for her short story The Head. She also won the Digital Literature Award and Gwacheon Science Center SF awards in 2008 and 2014, respectively. Cursed Bunny was longlisted for the National Book Award for Translated Literature in 2023.
In recent years, literary fiction has mixed with genre fiction in new and unusual ways. This has given rise to various hybrid stories, such as Stephen Graham Jones’ literary horror, Susanna Clarke’s blend of fantasy and reality, and Kate Atkinson’s historical fiction with a twist of time travel.
Bora Chung, a South Korean novelist, presents a similar fusion in her first translated work, Cursed Bunny. This collection of short stories draws inspiration from Korean folklore and her background as a Slavic literature professor. The stories in this collection navigate a fine line between highbrow absurdity and lowbrow jump scares.

The balance between these elements varies from one story to the next, and at times, the genre conventions may seem a bit too familiar. However, it’s precisely these moments of predictability that catch you off guard and lead you into the unpredictable and bizarre world Chung creates.
Cursed Bunny is a collection of stories that can be both dark and reminiscent of the classic Grimm’s fairy tales. Some tales, like Snare, offer a twisted take on traditional stories, making them more gruesome and bloodier. On the other hand, Ruler of the Winds and Sands reads like a fantasy fable that could easily fit into Scheherazade’s tales. In this story, a princess sets out to restore her future husband’s sight, only to uncover hidden truths about human nature and the world around her.

Not many collections of stories start as strangely as Cursed Bunny. In the opening story, “The Head,” a woman is in the bathroom about to flush the toilet when she hears a voice calling “Mother?” To her shock, a head pops out of the toilet, made from her bodily waste. In this bizarre world created by Bora Chung, the woman casually flushes the talking head away and leaves the bathroom. But the stories in “Cursed Bunny” are connected by themes of revenge and return.

In these ten eerie tales, past wrongs and misdeeds come back to haunt the characters. It could be something as simple as a thoughtless flush or a debt left unpaid, or it could be more significant, like the unethical actions of a company or the mistreatment of animals. The stories explore how settling old scores can come at a high price. For instance, the title story follows the tragic consequences of an enchanted fetish, the cursed Bunny, which brings ruin to anyone who touches it.

The backdrop of postwar South Korea shows how revenge can become its own industry. A descendant of the fetish’s creator warns that “cursing others leads to two graves,” meaning those who seek revenge may end up in trouble themselves. The multiplying and destructive rabbits in the story are a powerful metaphor for the destructive desire for vengeance and capitalist greed.

Another recurring theme in the book is the societal pressure on women to marry and have children. This theme reaches its peak in The Embodiment, where a woman strangely becomes pregnant without engaging in any sexual activity. The doctor insists that she must find a male partner for the sake of her fetus, subjecting her to shaming and bizarre matchmaking attempts. These stories question what we owe to the things we create and what, if anything, they owe us.

Chung blends various genres in this collection, including classic ghost stories, mythic fantasy, fairy tales ,dark fables, science fiction, and surreal horror-adjacent tales. Cursed Bunny offers a diverse and captivating array of stories exploring life’s strange and unsettling aspects.
After publishing Cursed Bunny, Bora Chung published a collection of short stories titled Your Utopia.

This collection is filled with tales of various emotions and themes, from loss and discovery to idealism and dystopia and from death to the quest for immortality. According to Vulture, Chung’s stories have a way of making you confront your most basic instincts. However, they also contain moments of wry humor and surprising tenderness.

In The Center for Immortality Research, we follow a low-level employee who works tirelessly to organize a fancy gala for wealthy donors. However, she ends up witnessing a crime during the event, right under the noses of mysterious celebrity benefactors who seek eternal life. Strangely, she can’t be fired, and neither can anyone else.

In “One More Kiss, Dear,” a unique and one-sided love story unfolds in an AI-controlled elevator within an apartment complex. The elevator develops a deep affection for one of the residents, leading to an unconventional bond.
“Seeds” explores capitalism’s economic and environmental consequences, particularly the dominance of GMO companies in the agricultural industry. Nature, however, finds a way to fight back and reclaim what was lost.

Chung’s writing has been described as haunting, funny, unsettling, and gross, yet it leaves readers wanting more. If you haven’t delved into the world of this distinctive imagination, “Your Utopia” offers a chance to do so. The stories promise to be thought-provoking and memorable, combining a range of emotions and themes to engage and captivate the reader. If you enjoy reading a short story collection that will keep you on the edge of your seat, then Bora Chung’s novels are highly recommended.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Bora Chung

Leave a Reply