Your Utopia

Bora Chung, Anton Hur (trans.)

Your Utopia
Scribe Publications
30 January 2024

Your Utopia

Bora Chung, Anton Hur (trans.)

By the internationally acclaimed author of Cursed Bunny, in another thrilling translation from the Korean by Anton Hur, Your Utopia is full of tales of loss and discovery, idealism and dystopia, death and immortality. "Nothing concentrates the mind like Chung's terrors, which will shrivel you to a bouillon cube of your most primal instincts" (Vulture), yet these stories are suffused with Chung's inimitable wry humour and surprisingly tender moments, too - often between unexpected subjects.

In 'The Center for Immortality Research', a low-level employee runs herself ragged planning a fancy gala for donors, only to be blamed for a crime she witnessed during the event, under the noses of the mysterious celebrity benefactors hoping to live forever. But she can't be fired - no one can. In 'One More Kiss, Dear', a tender, one-sided love blooms in the AI-elevator of an apartment complex; as in, the elevator develops a profound affection for one of the residents. In 'Seeds', we see the final frontier of capitalism's destruction of the planet and the GMO companies who rule the agricultural industry in this bleak future, but nature has ways of creeping back to life.

Chung's writing is "haunting, funny, gross, terrifying - and yet when we reach the end, we just want more" (Alexander Chee). If you haven't yet experienced the fruits of this singular imagination, Your Utopia is waiting.


I didn’t think this was possible, but Bora Chung’s latest short-story collection, Your Utopia, is even better than her acclaimed Cursed Bunny. Though still steeped in the horrific and the gory – elements of writing that Chung has already shown she excels at – her newest collection is instilled with relevant political and personal rigour that captivated me straightaway, with each story commenting on and questioning an abundance of issues such as corporate greed and discrimination, terse relationships, climate change, the rise of technology and what this means for humanity, and in true Chung style, cannibalism, crime, and morality.

In addition to grappling with such an array of themes, across her collection Chung also tackles multiple genres with delightful precision. One of my favourite stories, ‘The End of the Voyage’, is playful yet uniquely grounded in science-fiction and dystopian tropes as it reminisces on the effects of a cannibal plague (yes, you read that right) on humanity and morality. In other stories, Chung speaks from the voices of a robot left to die on an abandoned Earth; an elevator trying to combat human mortality; a husband who is suspicious of his wife’s hushed midnight phone-calls; an employee using new technology to find out the truth of a crime; and many more. Each of her characters is unique, yet so believable and relatable that I found myself really caring about them.

Meticulously crafted, each story feels just the right length, with the perfect pacing to make me want to read more (one of my only qualms with Cursed Bunny) and each ending packed a punch that left me feeling heartbroken, longing and inspired. Your Utopia is a thought-provoking delight to read, and you’ll be missing out if you don’t go and grab your copy.

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