‘The Hole: A Novel’ by Hye-young Pyun [Book Review]

the hole hye young pyun simon and schuster
Image: Simon & Schuster

I’m always on the lookout for new thriller books, so when I came across it on Scribd and learned about the novel’s premise, I was intrigued right away.

Of course, it also helped that I read really good reviews on it online. I even saw that a lot of readers described it as a complete page-turner, so I thought, Okay, I’m sold.

What it’s about

Oghi wakes up from a coma after a devastating car accident. He can hear things but can barely move. He can’t speak, either.

It is revealed that his wife was killed in the same crash, and since he doesn’t have anyone else to look after him, Oghi is taken care of by his mother-in-law.

Eventually, Oghi’s condition improves, and he is released from the hospital. He is then brought to the house he and his wife shared.

His mother-in-law hires a caregiver to look after him. But when a problem emerges and the caregiver gets fired, the mother-in-law decides that she will take care of Oghi herself.

Because of this, Oghi has no choice but to spend more time with his mother-in-law. And since his mobility remains limited, what he usually does is just stare outside of his window.

From his bed, he can see his mother-in-law working in the garden his wife worked so hard to cultivate. It’s been neglected since his wife passed away, and now his mother-in-law seems to be very busy working on it.

Not long after, he sees his mother-in-law doing something really shocking in the garden: She is digging a hole in it, and the hole just gets deeper each day.

What I like about it

This book’s premise seems simple, but it really isn’t. There is actually more to the events described in it, and they are revealed through Oghi’s thoughts, which readers can access with the help of an omniscient narrator.

Through this narrator, readers are informed about the specifics of the car crash and the events that took place before the accident. In other words, they are able to find out more about Oghi’s relationship with his wife, as well as his work.

No wonder, the book is able to capture the complexity of a marriage between two people who seem to want different things in life and are faced with a lot of pressures in the society they are in, and I think that is very interesting.

What I don’t really like about it

While reading this book, I found some of its parts dragging, especially some scenes in its first half. Although I understood that I was being prepared for some exciting twists, I also thought that some parts could have been condensed to speed up the story’s pace and help sustain readers’ attention.

Finally, the ending got me so confused. To this day, I am not sure if its ambiguity was earned, or if it just shocked me for the sake of it.

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