Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

I Have the Right to Destroy Myself Paperback – Jul 2 2007

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
CDN$ 7.02 CDN$ 7.02

Unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping for Six Months When You Try Amazon Student
click to open popover

No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 132 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; 1 edition (July 2 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156030802
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156030809
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 0.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 209 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #354,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  •  Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Korean novelist Kim's tantalizing 1996 debut novel concerns a calculating, urbane young man who makes a business of helping his clients commit suicide. The narrator's favorite painting, Jacques-Louis David's The Death of Marat, encapsulates his outlook—to be detached and cold, an approach reflected in his account of a recent client who was romantically involved with two brothers (called C and K). The woman, Se-yeon, is a young, spacey, lollipop-sucking drifter who first hangs out with K before bedding C. Cab-driver K and video artist C become obsessed with Se-Yeon, who looks (to them) like Gustave Klimt's Judith. Judith, as they subsequently refer to her, later wanders off into a snowstorm, never to be seen by the brothers again. However, in this eerie, elliptical narrative, Judith reappears as the narrator's client. Moreover, Judith morphs into other objects of desire, such as a woman from Hong Kong the narrator meets in Vienna and an elusive performance artist named Mimi whom C films. Kim's work is a self-conscious literary exploration of truth, death, desire and identity, and though it traffics in racy themes, it never devolves into base voyeurism. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Kim's first novel reeks of 1990s South Korea, whose rising generation was the first to enjoy the freedoms and the attendant anomie of a wealthy society. There are three male and three female protagonists. The men are the narrator and brothers C, a video artist, and K, a taxi driver. The women are Judith (so-called by C, after the biblical heroine as painted by Gustav Klimt), whom K beds first (in C's apartment) but loses to C; a woman the narrator meets in Vienna; and performance artist Mimi, averse to cinematic media but willing to have C tape her. It is eventually disclosed that Judith and Mimi are clients of the narrator, who writes novels, perhaps including this one, but maintains a sideline in promotive rather than preventive suicide counseling. As bleak, chilling, and economically written as Stephen Crane's 1890s classics Maggie and George's Mother, though with characters miles up the economic scale from Crane's, Kim's deadpan, elliptical story is even more like the enigmatic love (?) stories of Taiwanese filmmaker Tsai Ming-liang, whose work must be watched as raptly as Kim's must be read. Mesmerizing. Olson, Ray

See all Product Description

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See the customer review
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

By Booklover TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 17 2010
Format: Paperback
I was very intrigued by the description, but didn't meet my expectations.
This book had the potential to be something big, but I felt like I was sold short overall. It was pieced together rather awkwardly; I felt as if the author grew tired of writing a novel and just started to put anything in it to wrap it up. If given the chance, I'd give it back to the author and tell him to write more, fill in some blanks, carry on with the concept of what had potential to be a really great story.

Also, it's more of a novella, not a novel (just over 100 pgs), which I missed in the description, lol.

I would say I'm more neutral in terms of suggesting to read it or not; it's far from the worst thing I've read, but most definitely not the best, either. To summarize by common day terms: "meh"
2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars 20 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beware of strangers in art galleries July 19 2007
By Katherine V. Molina - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This was a neat little find...also one of the more viscerally disturbing books I've read in a while. Dark, clear, spare writing and a very smooth translation. It scared the heck out of me the first time I read it, and so I started over and read it again. Check it out.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seems like yesterday July 23 2009
By Josephine Ordunez - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Seems like yesterday when I first found I Have The Right To Destroy Myself in a used bookstore. It was completely by chance too. I saw it out of the corner of my eye and I ended up buying it. This book is one of the best books I've ever read. I was realistically dark and twisted. And that's not something just any writer can pull off. Young-Ha Kim is amazing. After I read it I soon got on this site to see if he had anymore books out.
That's when I found this one. I read it in about an hour and a half and it was great. There is actually two stories in this book. Photo Shop Murder and What Ever Happened to the Guy Stuck in the Elevator?
The first story was good but I like the 2nd one way better!
If you think you ever had a bad day, then read What Ever Happened to the Guy Stuck in the Elevator? It'll make you think twice. Trust me.


I Have the Right to Destroy Myself (Harvest Original)
3.0 out of 5 stars ...okay July 23 2016
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Personally, I wasn't blown away by this book. But, I did enjoy reading it on the way down to the beach.
10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I really liked this book. July 26 2007
By Abc shopper - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
When I think about it "objectively" this book really wasn't THAT great. Normally I would rate it 4 or even 3 stars, but I just really enjoyed this book. When I first looked at it I thought "Oh, another book with death and sex. How 'deep.'" but something compelled me to read it, and it was great! The writing was simple, which I love because it frees one's mind to analyze the text. Clearly, there was a lot of thought and planning put into the structure of the book. Kim has a wonderful way of interleaving the stories that take place at different times which creates, as another reviewer stated, a "dream-like" effect. The transitions in time and to various parts of the story are seemless. This would be a wonderful book to analyze in full, and I certainly hope I have the time to do so! This is certainly an entertaining (though dark) book on any level -- for a light or indepth read.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I Have the Right to Destory Myself May 11 2010
By Brekah - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have perhaps spent too long thinking on this book, but I have been struggling with how to approach it--with, even, my own thoughts on it in general. I know I have mentioned before that I am not necessarily a fan of contemporary fiction, be it Korean or otherwise; in order to enjoy it, I feel that a contemporary work must lack a certain feeling of pretentiousness. It seems as though so many contemporary authors know that they are doing something "different," and want to be praised for that difference; they are perhaps certain that they will "blow your mind." It's as though they panhandle to the sort of twenty-something that claims to have "really understood Lolita," or dismiss other works due to the popularity of the author, as opposed to the content or general worth of the work. It's a sort of falsehood that I've seen everywhere in post-college individuals, and it's rather grating. It's as though authors are writing for shock value, and the readers are eating it up. I feel as though it's a great fault of mine that I've become so judgmental of contemporary fiction, and yet I can't help but indulge the mental rolling of my eyes that seems to occur any time some author finds a new, "artistic" way to describe sex.

Good contemporary fiction, however, is as wonderful as it is rare. An author that can shine through and depict his/her story in an honest and genuinely creative way is a true artist, and I'm happy to see that they are still around. I just wish that there were more of them.

That, I suppose, sums up my view on contemporary fiction.

And now for I Have the Right to Destroy Myself by Young-ha Kim. The book follows a rather omniscient narrator though a dream-like Seoul as he navigates through the tangled lives of those who don't wish to live anymore, and those that surround them. He's a sort of dark mercy angel, never encouraging individuals to kill themselves, but aiding them when they do. He makes no claims on honesty, believing that fiction holds more merit than fact, so the reader has no guarantee that what he says is true. This effect, as well as his tone and the author's brilliant writing style, gives the book a mystical feeling, a sort of disconnect that remains whether the narrator focuses on his own life or the lives of two brothers and the woman they share in common.

Even after all of my thinking, I do not know quite what to say about this book. I fall back and forth from declaring it to be pretentious beyond a doubt to believing it to be honestly compelling. I think, however, that I can at last "assign" it a verdict.

I think that it is a very individual work that exists apart from the contemporary pretension that is rife on the markets. The book is indeed packed with shock value, existentialism, and other recipes for obtaining a modern audience, but I don't get the same sense of falseness from this work that I get from so many others. It feels genuine.

What lead me to this conclusion is the simple fact that I thought about the book for so long. It wasn't easy to approach; I rehashed the plot, characters, and writing style (which was brilliant in the English translation, and probably more so in Korean) constantly in my mind. The fact that the book kept me hooked for so long after I had read it leads me to believe that it was genuine in every respect.

My next step? I plan on reading Kim's other novels, as well as getting a hold of the original Korean texts. I want to gain what ever what lost in translation, and see where that takes me.

Look for similar items by category