Cursed Bunny: Stories (Paperback)
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2023 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD IN TRANSLATED LITERATURE
A stunning, wildly original debut from a rising star of Korean literature—surreal, chilling fables that take on the patriarchy, capitalism, and the reign of big tech with absurdist humor and a (sometimes literal) bite
From an author never before published in the United States, Cursed Bunny is unique and imaginative, blending horror, sci-fi, fairy tales, and speculative fiction into stories that defy categorization. By turns thought-provoking and stomach-turning, here monsters take the shapes of furry woodland creatures and danger lurks in unexpected corners of everyday apartment buildings. But in this unforgettable collection, translated by the acclaimed Anton Hur, Chung’s absurd, haunting universe could be our own.
“The Head” follows a woman haunted by her own bodily waste. “The Embodiment” takes us into a dystopian gynecology office where a pregnant woman is told that she must find a father for her baby or face horrific consequences. Another story follows a young monster, forced into underground fight rings without knowing his own power. The titular fable centers on a cursed lamp in the shape of a rabbit, fit for a child’s bedroom but for its sinister capabilities.
No two stories are alike, and readers will be torn whether to race through them or savor Chung’s wit and frenetic energy on every page. Cursed Bunny is a book that screams to be read late into the night and passed on to the nearest set of hands the very next day.
“Like the work of Carmen Maria Machado and Aoko Matsuda, Chung’s stories are so wonderfully, blisteringly strange and powerful that it's almost impossible to put Cursed Bunny down.” ―Kelly Link, bestselling author of Get In Trouble
About the Author
Bora Chung has written three novels and three collections of short stories. She has an MA in Russian and East European area studies from Yale University and a PhD in Slavic literature from Indiana University. She has taught Russian language and literature and science fiction studies at Yonsei University and translates modern literary works from Russian and Polish into Korean.
Anton Hur was born in Stockholm, Sweden. He won a PEN Translates award for Kang Kyeong-ae's The Underground Village and his translation of Sang Young Park’s Love in the Big City was longlisted for the Booker International Prize in 2022. He lives in Seoul.
"Bora Chung's Cursed Bunny mines those places where what we fear is true and what is true meet and separate and re-meet. The resulting stories are indelible. Haunting, funny, gross, terrifying—and yet when we reach the end, we just want more."—Alexander Chee, author of How to Write an Autobiographical Novel
"Anton Hur’s nimble translation manages to capture the tricky magic of Chung’s voice — its wry humor and overarching coolness broken by sudden, thrilling dips into passages of vivid description. Even as Chung presents a catalog of grotesqueries that range from unsettling to seared-into-the-brain disturbing, her power is in restraint. She and Hur always keep the reader at a slight distance in order for the more chilling twists to land with maximum impact, allowing us to walk ourselves into the trap.”
—Violet Kupersmith, The New York Times Book Review
"Cool, brilliantly demented K-horror—just the way I like it!" —Ed Park, author of Personal Days
“Sharp, wildly inventive, and slightly demented (in the most enjoyable way, of course)… All we can say is buckle in, because when these stories take their horrific turn there’s no setting them down.”—Chicago Review of Books
"[Chung's] glorious anglophone debut, enabled by award-winning Anton Hur, is poised to shock and delight. Bizarrely enigmatic, Chung’s collection proves irresistible."—Terry Hong, Booklist (starred review)
“Nothing concentrates the mind like Chung’s terrors, which will shrivel you to a bouillon cube of your most primal instincts.”—Rhoda Feng, Vulture
“Bora Chung Soars with a provocative collection of stories. ...remarkable... The 10 stories are beyond imagination: breathtaking, wild, crazy, the most original fiction I have ever encountered. …each more astounding than the last.”—Louisa Ermelino, Publishers Weekly
“This short story collection is like a car crash you can't look away from: grotesque in the best way…Each story is fantastically unique, and unlike anything I've ever read before.”—Kirby Beaton, Buzzfeed’s Best December Books of 2022
“Like a family in a home, fantastic stories gather together in this book. The stories not only take their revenge, but also love you, and comfort you. You'll end up completely endeared to this fascinating collection!”—Kyung-sook Shin, New York Times Bestselling author of Please Look After Mom and Violets
“Whether borrowing from fable, folktale, speculative fiction, science fiction, or horror, Chung’s stories corkscrew toward devastating conclusions—bleak, yes, but also wise and honest about the nightmares of contemporary life. Don't read this book while eating—but don’t skip these unflinching, intelligent stories, either.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A collection of exquisitely crafted, spooky and unnerving tales that haunted me long after reading. Each story is a macabre gem, shot through with visceral horror, wry humor, and subtly profound insights on human nature. These stories convey how the traumas and transgressions of the past, individual and collective, and erupt into the present, distorting and eroding our perception of reality. Bora Chung is an amazingly inventive and daring writer. I will revisit these stories whenever I need a reminder of how fresh and vital prose can be.”—Kate Folk, author of Out There
“This Korean debut collection is a stunner. The stories included are absurdly unique, delightfully monstrous, horrifically insightful and chillingly satisfying.”——Ms. Magazine
“If you want a spooky set of stories that will crawl under your skin and burrow into your marrow and stay there forever, Chung’s collection is a freaky, unforgettable outing. There’s a folkloric quality to this collection, like these are urban legends that have finally been put to paper.”—Wired Magazine
"What made this book truly transcendental was the sense of absolute dread that many of its stories summoned. Chung’s work fits neatly beside that of Brian Evenson and Kelly Link—cerebral fiction that might give you nightmares."—Tobias Carroll, Words Without Borders
“Disturbing, chilling, wrenching, and absolute genius. I wanted Chung to write a story about a reader getting a deep look inside her fantastic swirling mind. I had to take breaks and gulps of air before plunging back into each story. Magnetic, eerie, immensely important.” —Frances Cha, author of If I Had Your Face
“Fables of frightening moral clarity told in calm, bell-like prose, Cursed Bunny aims to unsettle. It's as assured and brilliant as a nightmare. With an unflinching gaze and a sly humor, Chung has built a world both unfamiliar and eerily familiar, whose truths echo into our own. The indelible work of a master.”—Shruti Swamy, author of The Archer and A House is a Body
“[A] get-under-your-skin collection”—LitHub
“While the stories in Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung blend elements of horror, fantasy and the surreal, each is viscerally rooted in the real fears and pressures of everyday life.”—International Booker Prize judges
“The strange and everyday are melded in these startling and original tales… Cursed Bunny is [Chung’s] first book to be translated into English, and hopefully not the last.”—Connie Biewald, San Francisco Chronicle
“Chung debuts with a well-crafted and horrifying collection of dark fairy tales, stark revenge fables, and disturbing body horror. Clever plot twists and sparkling prose abound. Chung’s work is captivating and terrifying.”——Publishers Weekly
“Chung’s genre-defying collection breathes life into literary horror as the stories incorporate common fears and societal flaws with elements of the fantastic in the most chilling ways. The tales in Cursed Bunny will draw readers in with familiar themes and genre tropes and leave them pleasantly surprised, if not disturbed by the monsters within.”—The West Trade Review
“A unique and chilling collection”—We Are Bookish
“Bora Chung's stories succeed at being deeply visceral experiences that do what the best fairy tales do: convey the unspeakable in a way that is nevertheless collectively understood…perfect for fans of Bong Joon-ho's films or Helen Oyeyemi's fiction.”—Alice Martin, Shelf Awareness
“Addictively bizarre … bone-chilling”—BookReporter
“Thankfully, moving through the collection at a measured pace allows Hur’s straightforward translation—and the macabre scenarios that Chung creates—to feel fresh on every visit.”—The Atlantic
“If you were the kind of child who was enthralled by Scary Stories to Read in the Dark, Bora Chung writes for you. Like the work of Carmen Maria Machado and Aoko Matsuda, Chung’s stories are so wonderfully, blisteringly strange and powerful that it's almost impossible to put Cursed Bunny down. In short, this collection may, in fact, be a cursed object in the best possible way.” —Kelly Link, bestselling author of Get In Trouble