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The Plotters

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  153 ratings  ·  67 reviews
From the novelist dubbed "the Korean Henning Mankell" (The Guardian) comes a fantastical crime novel set in an alternate Seoul where assassination guilds compete for market dominance. Perfect for fans of Han Kang and Patrick deWitt.

Behind every assassination, there is an anonymous mastermind--a plotter--working in the shadows. Plotters quietly dictate the moves of the city
Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: January 29th 2019 by Doubleday Books (first published August 20th 2010)
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  • The Plotters by Un-su Kim
    The Plotters
    Release date: Jan 29, 2019
    From the novelist dubbed "the Korean Henning Mankell" (The Guardian) comes a fantastical crime novel set in an alternate Seoul where assassination gui ...more

    Format: Print book

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    Availability: 10 copies available, 1211 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: Jan 14 - Feb 11, 2019

    Countries available: U.S.

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    This is a beautifully translated addition to the emergent genre of Korean Noir, it is offbeat, full of wit, irony and black humour, gritty and brutal but never less than engaging and gripping, set in Seoul. It this story of a quagmire of plotters, we have our anti-hero an assassin, Reseng, inescapably destined to become an exceptional hitman after being raised by Old Raccoon. You cannot help but be drawn into his life and character despite the brutality of his occupation. Contract killings are m ...more
    Ova - Excuse My Reading
    I won't lie, I found this book a bit baffling in the start but then when the events picked up, and I got what was going on it became so anti-climatic and interesting.

    Would it be awkward if I define it as "Tarantino meets David Lynch"? The whole story, characters, events are bizarre and different, but not in a bad way. There is violence, sadness, a well-painted atmosphere, solid characters. If you're into cat/mouse game type of crime novels and fancy a quirk don't give this a miss. Second Korean
    Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    The Plotters is the first novel by prize-winning Korean author, Un-su Kim, in English. Reseng has been an assassin for fifteen years. His facilitator is Old Raccoon, who operates out of the library he calls The Doghouse. His instructions come from the Plotters who take orders from the Contractor. An assignment will often see Reseng presenting a body to his friend, Bear who runs a pet crematorium but will, for a fee, cremate a human body with due reverence and ceremony.

    Reseng is careful to mainta
    Liz Barnsley
    Considering this was a novel about the hierarchy of assassins, it had a beautifully rolling, gentle prose - even in it's more violent moments, plus it was hugely compelling and absorbing.

    The Plotters sit at the top of the hired killer food chain, hidden from view but pulling all the strings. We rock along with one "lowly" assassin as he changes the plans and comes under fire.

    This is only my second Korean thriller and I'm hoping more come my way soon- different and quirky, both in the realistic
    Paul Fulcher
    "‘Reading books will doom you to a life of fear and shame. Now, do you still feel like reading?’"

    The Guardian newspaper recently heralded Korean thriller writers as starting a new wave of translated popular fiction to succeed Scandinavian noir - - and the book on which they centered their article was this: 설계자들 by 김언수 (Kim Un-su). A more literal translation of the original title would be designers or architects, but the publisher and translator have gone w
    Jan 17, 2019 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: korea, 2019-read
    The first chapter was already GOLD!
    Text Publishing
    ‘The Plotters is a constantly surprising book full [of] fascinating stories and unforgettable characters…A savage, beautifully observed, often poetic novel.’

    ‘Laugh-out-loud funny.’
    Radio NZ

    ‘The Plotters is what would happen if you took the best South Korean crime cinema and distilled it into words. A smart but lightning fast thriller that keeps the pressure on to the very last page.’
    Brian Evenson, author of Last Days and A Collapse of Horses

    ‘Imagine a mash-up of Tarantino and Camus se
    Завърших книгата вчера и бях решила да пиша за нея в блога, но желанието ми някак се промени.
    Не защото книгата е лоша. Напротив, за литературно произведение от Южна Корея си е дори впечатляващо хубава. Феновете ще ме извинят, но точно при литературата южнокорейците никакви ги няма. Чела съм почти всичко новоизлязло на пазара от техни автори и не си спомням да е имало и една нормална книга. Може би са твърде възвишени за мен...
    Но тази е хубава. Вярно, като цяло се развива не точно като трилър, ко
    Kasa Cotugno
    Lyrical, but that may be the contribution of the translator, this unusual quirky thriller from Korea defies description. I've tagged it as both dystopian and noir, so it is a highly original mashup of the two. Thirty-two year old Renseng is an assassin, discovered in a garbage pail and raised by the shadowy figure who discovered him. He starts questioning the powers that drive his assignments, and that is what propels the plot. Interestingly, some of the other reviews identified the location as ...more
    John Decker
    Jan 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: 2019
    Michigan Daily review in the works :’)
    Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)
    Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
    This was wonderfully wild - an epic rollercoaster of a thriller! Plotters, hired assassins, a mysterious library... need I say more?! This read like a "Tarantino" film but with a much more compelling underlying plot... and book-ended by mind blowing opening and closing chapters. Highly recommend!
    Donna Davis
    Whoa now. This is the darkest work of fiction I have ever read without abandoning. This review is going to take awhile. More will be up by the (U.S.) publication date.
    Jacki (Julia Flyte)
    Like the surreal mash-up of a Quentin Tarantino film and a Haruki Murakami novel.
    Tonstant Weader
    Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Un-Su Kim’s The Plotters focuses on contract killer Reseng, who grew up in the Doghouse, a library run by Old Raccoon, who functions more or less as a booking agent for contract killers. It Kim’s South Korea, contract killers seem to be prevalent and busy, caring out the orders of the wealthy and connected politicians and entrepreneurs. In fact, contract killers are so common they are driving down the price.

    The first story opens with Reseng sighting in on his prey, an old man who is watering flo
    Sep 15, 2018 marked it as anti-library
    Shelves: arcs
    So this is 'a fantastical crime novel set in an alternate Seoul where assassination guilds compete for market dominance'. I mean, just wow
    Selina Öberg
    Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    De säger att sydkoreansk spänning är det nya deckarfenomenet och jag håller med. Har nog aldrig läst en deckare som varit så vacker, filosofisk och stämningsfull.
    I thought the opening of this book was simply brilliant. The whole opening scene of one man stalking (and then oddly befriending) the other was simple, powerful, and artfully done. The writing was beautiful, with an intriguing set-up and great quotes like, "Black tea is steeped in imperialism. That's what gives it its flavor. Anything this flavorful has to be hiding an incredible amount of carnage."

    Sadly, though, the rest of the book didn't wow me nearly as much.

    I felt like this book had some
    Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    I like to see what fiction other cultures are writing and reading. I've enjoyed others from SE Asia and China, but not until now from Korea.
    The story itself reminds me of several other books in which assassins are a major presence, but here I can feel a lot of tongue in cheek as well as some really sneaky humor that is even worse than puns. That being said, I do think that the translator was kind enough to substitute English language vernacular when needed.
    Bottom line: I really enjoyed readin
    Nigel Masterton
    Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    The Plotters is set in North Korea where Renseng, an orphan, lives the life of an assassin for hire. What you don't expect is to end up empathising with him. But then this is an assassin who also reads Dostoyevski! Un-su-Kim spins out the tale of Renseng's life so beautifully that somehow his repeatedly killing people isn't what dominates this excellent novel. Rather it is the wonderful characters - such as Old Racoon,the librarian: Bear, the owner of a private crematorium; Hanja, the old barber ...more
    Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Yeah, I loved this book. I love how dark, fatalistic, nihilistic, cynical, funny and strangely poetic it was. Seriously with that combination what is not to love. Reseng is an assassin and is you guide into the complicated John Wickian world that feels incrediable parallel to South Korean politics. Now I say this knowing very little about South Korean politics. But I adored the world of the Plotters, because you never exactly know who is plotting who. A lot of this movie is pure machanics, who d ...more
    Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    This book is brilliant, dark, funny and different. The plot is twisted, scary and the book is an insight into the underworld of criminals with their own rules and hierarchy. Written beautifully and perfectly translated this story from Asia is very different from the Scandinavian thrillers.
    Dog House

    Wenn der Killer sich nicht an die Anweisungen hält, ist er tot. Als Raeseng dem alten Mann und seinem Hund eine gewisse Gnade erweist, muss er also fürchten, selbst zum Abschuss freigegeben zu werden. Doch zunächst sind einige andere dran. In der sich ändernden Lage in Korea besteht tatsächlich die Gefahr, dass die Macht der Plotter vergeht, zu denen auch Raesengs Ziehvater Old Raccoon gehört. Wird Raeseng der Gefahr trotzen können? Mühsam ist jedenfalls sein Weg und ungewiss ist, ob er
    Raeseng arbeitet in Seoul als Auftragskiller. Bei seinem aktuellen Auftrag zögert er und wird prompt von seinem Opfer in dessen einfache Hütte eingeladen. Ein Mann sollte seinen Tod in Würde wählen dürfen, davon ist der alte Mann überzeugt. Nachdem Raeseng einmal ins Grübeln gekommen ist, scheint es mit der Routine seines Berufsstandes begab zu gehen. Ein Rückblick zeigt auf, wie Raeseng als Findelkind zu Old Racoon gekommen ist, seinem Pflegevater und Ausbilder. Der Junge hat sich im Dog House, ...more
    Very dark satire on the business of assassins. It seems market forces can even impact the demand and supply of these guy's services. It's a shady business but one in which everyone in Korea knows about and can use.
    The book starts well with a great scene of the hunter and hunted sharing a last meal. Then the story slowly went a bit farcical with plotters plotting against plotters, assassins assassinating assassins and new entrants challenging the status quo.
    But the guy can certainly write.
    Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Literarischer Thriller aus Südkorea

    Die Plotter ist ein spannender Roman aus Südkorea.
    Die ausdrucksvolle bildliche Sprache des koreanischen Autors erinnert mich weniger an die Filme von Kim Ki-Duk, die ich auch sehr schätze als an die Wucht des frühen John Woo (Bullet in the Head, Hardboiled).
    Die mafiösen Kreise, die das Leben des 32jährigen Auftragskillers Raeseng bestimmen, waren immer Teil seines Lebens. Raeseng wurde als Baby in einer Mülltonne gefunden und dann von Old Raccoon adoptiert. So
    Dec 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: fiction, to-own
    I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

    What a pleasant surprise! I had no idea what to expect going into this book, but what I got was a brutal, surreal, and funny thriller. It's a series of what feels like interconnected vignettes that are filled with some of the most entertaining characters I've read in a while, with a total David Lynch vibe.

    And excellently translated to boot. I can't wait for more of Kim's work to be released in English.
    Jan 13, 2019 rated it liked it
    This book is for people who like Chuck Palahniuk would enjoy this novel. The writing was very strong and enjoyable to read. Unfortunately the plot was disjointed at times with the way the timeline translated. However, an overall good and interesting read.
    Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    „Raeseng ist Killer von Beruf“ – und zum Glück keiner, den man so zu Hauf in der westlichen Literatur finden kann. Er ist einfach nur ein Mann, Raeseng. Er ist kein Adonis, der die Frauen reihenweise mit seinem Charme gefügig macht, er ist auch nicht hochintelligent und meistert jede noch so ausweglose Situation mit Links. Raeseng ist ein Mensch wie du und ich – natürlich abgesehen von dem Part mit dem Auftragskiller (hoffe ich) – und gerade deswegen schließt man ihn im Laufe der Geschichte ungl ...more
    A quirky crime novel which follows Reseng, an assassin living in Seoul, as his life becomes increasingly complicated and in danger as a result of his job.

    I found the opening chapter fantastic - we join Reseng as he trails and later befriends an elderly man and his dog who he has been hired to kill. The plot then progresses to include a lot of infighting between the plotters of the title; Reseng is unsure who to trust as it seems like anyone could (literally) stab him in the back at any time. Unf
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    Goodreads Librari...: Adding a blurb 3 15 Jul 18, 2018 06:01PM  
    Un-su Kim was born in 1972 in Busan and is the author of several highly praised novels. He has won the Munhakdongne Novel Prize, Korea’s most prestigious literary prize, and was nominated for the 2016 Grand Prix de la Littéraire Policière. He lives in Jinhae-gu, South Korea.
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