ARC REVIEW: Funereal – by Giacomo Lee

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Title: Funereal
Author: Giacomo Lee
Genre: Fiction, Sci-Fi, Dark Comedy
First published: March 30th 2015
Finished reading: April 10th 2015
Pages: 139
Rating 4

“Sleep is the true rehearsal for death, Soobin thought with a sigh. That’s why grandma had more dreams of the future the older she got, for death is the future of all things, coming back towards us like a feedback loop.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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Just as I was thinking about the fact that I’m not reading enough stories set in Asia, I was contacted by Typhoon Media Ltd. to read and review Funereal. This book written by Giacomo Lee is set in modern.day South Korea, and it’s definitely a refreshing read. Other books I’ve read that are set in Korea have had mostly Western main characters or are about the Korean War, but Giacomo Lee chose to show us the dark side to the modern day capial of Seoul instead, complete with Korean main characters. It’s an almost surreal picture of a city where plastic surgery, suicide and the struggle to fit in are part of the daily life. The Korean culture is different from our own Western one, and from what I could tell with my limited knowledge of that culture, the author was able to give a convincing image of their competitiveness and their drive for reaching perfection both physically and psychologically. The prose is interesting, and even though at times it wasn’t that easy to understand the bigger picture, I still highly enjoyed reading this novel. Definitely an interesting read full of references to the hi-tech and music world!

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Soobin Shin is looking for an interesting job ever since her college graduation, but she doesn’t have any luck so far. She seems to be stuck with her job in a doughnut store, while her twin sister Hyewon is one of Korea’s famous models… Then one evening, one of the doughnut store’s clients offers her a job in his new company, saying that she has ‘the perfect smile. Perfect for the friendly face of death’. Although she is not sure about what to think of the customer, she still agrees to meet him. The company, OneLife Korea, is ment to save South Korea of its depressions… One funeral at the time. Soobin Shin is supposed to become the face of the company, where she will help clients getting over their depressions by burying them alive and let them attend their own funeral. South Korea has the highest suicide rate in the developed world, and Soobin agrees to try and help bring that number down. Everything seems to work perfectly, until the clients actually start dying…

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This is not your typical read and it definitely touches some interesting themes. We live in a world that is increasingly hi-tec and plastic, where anything less than perfect is seen negatively. Peer pressure increases and that could definitely lead to a situation as described in Funereal where suicide rates have gone through the roof. The prose Giacomo Lee used to describe his story helps creating the hi-tech and surreal world of Seoul where people pay to attend their own funeral. Funereal is without doubt worth reading if you like (literary) fiction and sci-fi! If you are interested, the paperback version is available starting tomorrow, April 14th.

WWW Wednesdays #34 – April 8th

wwwwednesdaysOriginally featured at Should Be Reading and now hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words, WWW WEDNESDAYS is still about answering the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?

ataleoftwocities???????????I’ve put A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens temporarily on hold because I wasn’t in the mood to read classics and I didn’t want to end up hating the novel because of that. I’m currently reading Funereal by Giacomo Lee, an ARC provided by the publisher that I’m really enjoying so far.  Fingers crossed it stays that way!

  • What did you recently finish reading?

ruinandrisingwewereliarsI finished Ruin And Rising yesterday, and with that I have completed yet another trilogy! I love Leigh Bardugo‘s writing and I’m definitely looking forward to read more about Ketterdam in Six Of Crows. It will be a long wait until september… I’ve also read We Were Liars by E. Lockhart during the long weekend, although I didn’t end up enjoying it as much as I would have hoped. I guess it’s another case of a seriously overhyped novel… Full reviews of both titles are probably up before the weekend.

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

thestorytellerredqueenMy TBR cup got me The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult last week, but I haven’t been in the mood so far for a historical fiction WWII novel. It sounds like a great read so I will probably read it next though! If not, I will most likely end up reading Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.

Teaser Tuesdays #37 – April 7th: Funereal

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TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme originally featured at Should Be Reading. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

Last week I was sent a copy of Funereal by the publisher and I’m excited to be finally reading it! This novel by Giacomo Lee sounds like an interesting read and I love the setting in South Korea… It reminds me that I really should read more books set in Asia.  I’ve only just started reading this ARC after finishing Ruin And Rising earlier this day, but so far it’s good!

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My teaser (5%):

“Moon still in the sky, sunlight spread slowly across Seoul through a front of haze and dust. Dressed in her regular interview suit, piebald and matched to dark heels, Soobin Shin surveyed the mountain-cradled Nowon district from the window of her seventh floor apartment.”

What are you reading right now?

Friday Finds #30 – April 3rd

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FRIDAY FINDS is originally featured at Should Be Reading and showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last week and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. I know I have way to many books on my TBR pile already, but I couldn’t help adding new titles to my list anyway. Below you can find a few of my newest additions this week:

My finds:

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