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8 Lives of a Century-Old Trickster

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Read 8 Lives of a Century-Old Trickster by Mirinae Lee

SLAVE. ESCAPE-ARTIST. MURDERER. TERRORIST. SPY. LOVER. MOTHER. TRICKSTER.

At the Golden Sunset retirement home, it is not unusual for residents to invent stories. So when elderly Ms Mook first begins to unspool her memories, the obituarist listening to her is sceptical. Stories of captivity, friendship, murder, adventure, assumed identities and spying. Stories that take place in WWII Indonesia; in Busan during the Korean war; in cold-war Pyongyang; in China. The stories are so colourful and various, at times so unbelievable, that they cannot surely all belong to the same woman. Can they?

This novel follows the 8 lives, supposed or real, of a woman who was a « comfort woman » during several wars or who interacted with them; who murdered a few men; who was a spy for North Korea in the South; who was a loving wife to a man who thought she was someone else.

It’s a beautifully written book with a captivating story. I don’t know what it is exactly that didn’t stick: I loved this book, and yet I have a nagging feeling that I’m going to forget it very soon.

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