The Hole by Hye-Young Pyun

Reviewed by Casey

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Ogi has woken from a coma after causing a devastating car accident that took his wife’s life and left him paralyzed and badly disfigured. His caretaker is his mother-in-law, a widow grieving the loss of her only child. His world shrinks to the room in which he lies neglected as he goes over memories of his troubled relationship with his wife, a sensitive, intelligent woman who found all of her life goals thwarted except for one: cultivating the garden in front of their house. But soon Ogi notices his mother-in-law in the abandoned garden, uprooting what his wife had worked so hard to plant and obsessively digging larger and larger holes. When asked, she answers only that she is finishing what her daughter started.

The seriousness of Ogi’s near-total paralysis becomes apparent as his mother-in-law becomes increasingly cruel in an intentionally sinister way, sometimes leaving him alone for days and purposefully skipping surgery appointments. However, after she discovers her daughter’s manuscripts, we see a fuller portrait of Ogi’s wife and their fraught marriage. It made me second guess who I should be rooting for, and the startling ending left me wondering still.

Rating: 4/5 stars

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