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The Cabinet

A mind-bending and fantastically funny novel from one of South Korea’s most acclaimed novelists.

File Under: Fiction [ 12,000 Cans of Beer | Memory Mosaicers | Will Execution Inc. | Monkey of All Bombs ]

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SKU: AR9780857669247

Winner of the Munhakdongne Novel Award, South Korea’s most prestigious literary prize

Cabinet 13 looks exactly like any normal filing cabinet. Except this cabinet is filled with files on the ‘symptomers’, people whose weird abilities and bizarre experiences might just mark the emergence of a new species.

But to Mr Kong, the harried office worker who spends his days looking after the cabinet, the symptomers are just a headache; from the woman whose doppelganger broke up with her boyfriend, to the man with a ginkgo tree growing from his fingertip. And then there’s that guy who won’t stop calling, asking to be turned into a cat…

A richly funny and fantastical novel about the strangeness at the heart of even the most ordinary lives, from one of South Korea’s most acclaimed novelists.

Translated by Sean Lin Halbert


Release Date



12th October 2021 | 9780857669247 | epub & mobi | £4.99/$6.99/$7.99

US Print

12th October 2021 | 9780857669179 | Trade Paperback | $14.99/$16.99

UK Print

12th October 2021 | 9780857669179 | Paperback | £9.99

Goodreads URL Read & Review

“[A] brilliant mosaic novel…These stories straddle the lines between science fiction, fantasy, fairy tale, and acute reality.”
– Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“Deftly translated by award-winning Halbert, Kim’s latest import… again showcases his sly, surreal, dark humor about all the ways humans are, well, not particularly human.”

“Un-su Kim is a tremendous writer”
Scott Smith, author of A Simple Plan

“This charming and fantastical book is sure to introduce Kim to a whole new legion of weird fiction fans, ideal for readers of Han Kang’s The Vegetarian and the works of Haruki Murakami.”
– Chicago Review of Books

“The Cabinet is an anti-capitalist narrative at its core, one that makes explicit the arbitrariness of capitalist expectations and assumptions. Kim deftly juggles both macro-level and micro-level ideas about social roles, purpose, and personal narrative. More of a thought experiment than a thriller, The Cabinet is a lighthearted, amusing read that nonetheless dives into some deep philosophical topics.”
– Strange Horizons

Un-Su Kim made his debut as a writer in 2002 through the Jinju News Fall Literary Contest with short stories, Easy Breezy Writing Class and Dan Valjean Street and the 2003 DongA Ilbo Spring Literary Contest with his mid-length novel Farewell, Friday. His first full-length novel The Cabinet received the 12th Munhakdongne Novel Award.

More information about the author