In Cursed Bunny, Bora Chung uses a blend of boundary-defying genres to tell stories of insatiable greed, lust, patriarcy and capitalism, forcing people to think about the condition of the here and now, Samiksha Ransom reviews.
“If I could make one wish
I want to be just a little bit happier
If I’m too happy
I will miss the sadness.”
– Bora Chung, Cursed Bunny
Cursed Bunny by Korean author Bora Chung is a 2022 International Booker Prize shortlisted collection of 10 short stories that are in essence weird and unsettling. An exquisite blend of fantasy, magical realism, horror, science – fiction and dystopia, this collection has it all. These are tales of cursed fetishes, golden ships, cursed kings, occultist ironsmiths, brain-eating bunnies and a gold-producing-blood-sucking son, that shock the reader and ruffle their innermost being by the manner in which Chung offers them – with a horrible ease.
You might think these tales are ‘other-worldly,’ and would be right in thinking so (to an extent), but these tales are much more than that. In fact, I’d claim that in essence, they’re worldly. They tell us stories of insatiable greed, lust, patriarchy, and capitalism that test the very limits of humanity. In that sense, these tales are eye-opening, and Chung uses a clever form to present very plainly before the reader, the cruel realities of the world we inhabit every day. Chung’s technique is to use a blend of boundary-defying genres to tell stories of such themes, forcing people to think about the condition of the here and now. Almost all the stories end with a terrible ‘poetic justice’ and emphasise that there are consequences to certain actions, stating that certain actions must not be committed, because one is often paid back in more than the original harm done or intended. Perhaps that is why occasionally, these stories feature deeds of heroism, survival and unconditional love, too – as a relief, as an alternative, a better way of being in this world.
Chung’s mastery of his craft is evident in the stories where the reader is caught off-guard, so while the reader believes they’re reading a particular story, by the end they find out they were reading a completely different story all along, and didn’t even know about it! I couldn’t suppress a smile (smirk) at the end of some stories; some were a bit hard to read just because they’re written so blatantly, some shocked me (in a nice way). Chung’s collection is extremely gripping, and if you like weird tales, this isn’t a book to miss out on!
Pick up Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung from any Kunzum store or WhatsApp +91.8800200280 to order. Buy the book(s) and the coffee’s on us.
About the Reviewer:
Samiksha Ransom is a writer and editor. Her work has appeared in Tint Journal, EKL Review, The Chakkar, JAKE, The Lake, Live Wire (by The Wire), The Friday Poem and more. Her work was longlisted for the Poet’s in Vogue Challenge by the Young Poet’s Network, UK in 2023. Currently, Samiksha also edits for The Selkie Publications CIC and The Dawn Review. In the past, she has edited for the borderline and The Terrarium (Hellebore Press) literary magazines. In her newsletter, ‘Letters from Sam – Conversations, Maybe’ on Substack, she shares writing and publishing tips. She also teaches creative writing workshops occasionally. You can reach out to her on Instagram and Linktree.