Left’s Right, Right’s Left is the last book of Yeoyu series. It left me with a bitter feeling; it was harsh, so not very easy to read. I could feel the desperation of the narrator, and it left me breathless. I wanted to escape from it all.
When it comes to violence, I cannot deal with it either in books or films; I just cannot. This story takes place in only a few minutes and on a stairwell. The narrator is running from her apartment, trying to escape the assault. But the assailant catches her by her hair. She is in great pain, and she keeps repeating this: “My left foot is on the thirteenth step, my right foot is perched precariously on the edge of the twelfth step.”
In the meantime, she remembers things from her past. All the times, she could’ve helped someone but didn’t. These memories haunt her while she is on the stairwell. Stay away from this if you’re looking for an uplifting read.
The story takes place on a stairwell, all in about a minute’s time, while the narrator’s partner seizes her by the hair after her running out of the apartment to try to escape assault. While she tries desperately to avoid falling down the stairs, she has a series of flashbacks about a friend years earlier. In this brief moment, she searches her memories for things she may have missed, and feels guilt for not having finished writing his story.
Han Yujoo is a South Korean writer. Her novels portray not so much the fate of people embroiled in some kind of conflict as their psychological state when they contemplate a situation or idea. She was born in Seoul in 1982, studied German literature at Hongik University, obtained a master’s degree in aesthetics from the prestigious Seoul National University, and is currently working toward another master’s degree in comparative literature from Seoul National University. She is also a noted translator, whose works include translations of Michael Ondaatje’s The Cat’s Table, and Geoff Dyer’s But Beautiful and The Ongoing Moment, among others, into Korean. In addition, she runs her own micro-press, Oulipo Press, focusing on experimental fiction.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: