City of Ash and Red

City of Ash and Red Review

For fans of J. G. Ballard and early Ian McEwan, a tense psychological thriller and Kafkaesque parable by the author of The Hole―called “an airtight masterpiece” by the Korean Economic Daily.

Distinguished for his talents as a rat killer, the nameless protagonist of Hye-young Pyun's City of Ash and Red is sent by the extermination company he works for on an extended assignment in C, a country descending into chaos and paranoia, swept by a contagious disease, and flooded with trash. No sooner does he disembark than he is whisked away by quarantine officials and detained overnight. Isolated and forgotten, he realizes that he is stranded with no means of contacting the outside world. Still worse, when he finally manages to reach an old friend, he is told that his ex-wife's body was found in his apartment and he is the prime suspect. Barely managing to escape arrest, he must struggle to survive in the streets of this foreign city gripped with fear of contamination and reestablish contact with his company and friends in order to clear his reputation.

But as the man's former life slips further and further from his grasp, and he looks back on his time with his wife, it becomes clear that he may not quite be who he seems. From the bestselling author of The Hole, City of Ash and Red is an apocalyptic account of the destructive impact of fear and paranoia on people's lives as well as a haunting novel about a man’s loss of himself and his humanity.

Title:City of Ash and Red
Edition Language:English

    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Faith

    This was a very strange book, but I don’t mean that as a criticism. In a way I think that the blurb gives away too much and it might be better to read it after you have read the book. The unnamed pr...

  • Joseph

    City of Ash and Red is a Korean story that strikes fear and uneasiness into the reader. The unnamed lead character and narrator works for an extermination company. He's not the best employee but gets ...

  • OutlawPoet

    Sometimes you read and love a book, but when you have to explain it to someone, you fumble for words.This is one of those books. In City of Ash and Red, we have a pandemic. It's a quiet one, but a dea...

  • ??Nani??

    4.5⭐Once again, what an incredibly immersive yet eerily uncomfortable read. The main character, just like in The Hole is an absolute shithead. Really, a first-rate douchebag yet you can’t help but...

  • Silvia Moreno-Garcia

    I've taken to calling it High-Rise if J.G. Ballard took on a whole neighborhood instead of just one luxury apartment building. See my full review at NPR: https://www.npr.org/2018/11/10/665751......

  • Marjorie

    The unnamed narrator is known for his talents as a rat killer. The extermination company he works for has given him what many consider to be a promotion and is sent to Country C. However, when the man...

  • Kendra

    I can't tell if this was supposed to be dismal or absurdist or both. A nameless male protagonist whose work centers around killing pests is sent to work in a similarly unnamed city far from home, wher...

  • Annie

    The beginning of Hye-young Pyun’s novel, City of Ash and Red, (translated by Sora Kim-Russell), terrified me because it presents one of my worst fears. An unnamed man arrives in a foreign city to ta...

  • Kathie

    Rounded up from 3.5. City of Ash & Red is the first translated book I’ve read this year and had me all over the spectrum emotionally, mostly in the anxious and disturbed realm. There are certainly n...

  • Katrina

    Major kudos to both the author and translator for crafting such a compelling tale full of unease and disorientation. City of Ash and Red is one of the far superior modern novels with a dystopian theme...