The Eyes Are the Best Part

Erewhon. Jun. 2024. 288p. ISBN 9781645661238. $27. HORROR
DEBUT Kim has burst onto the psychological horror scene with an expertly constructed, visceral debut that unapologetically attacks a world that has allowed the pervasive fetishization of Asian women not only to persist but to thrive. Ji-won is a lonely Korean American college student who lives in a small apartment with her mother and her younger sister. Their father has recently left them. Her mother is trying to pick up some good luck by eating the best part of their fish dinner—the eyes. Ji-won, both attracted to and disgusted by this act, begins to become obsessed by the blue eyes of the white men around her, especially those of classmate Geoffrey and her mother’s new boyfriend, George. Ji-won confidently leads readers through this unsettling story, earning immediate empathy, even as she inserts serious doubt. The perfectly executed pacing ensnares readers even as the story’s palpable anxiety evolves into repulsion, daring them to pull their eyes away. Ji-won will stay with readers whether they want her to or not.
VERDICT With obvious nods to the serious issues that underpin Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, and clearly inspired by Gillian Flynn’s seminal Gone Girl, Kim has written a novel that every library needs to own.
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