Review: Saha by Cho Nam-Joo, Translated by Jamie Chang

Saha offers a chilling glimpse at the perils of privatisation and corruption and ends with a far darker and haunting twist than I ever thought possible.

Saha is set a privatised country known as Town. Town is controlled by a mysterious, unseen government body known as the Seven Premiers. The society within Town has been divided into two, the haves and the have-nots. (Does this sound familiar? It should.) The people who have the least of all live on the Saha Estate, a dilapidated housing estate. When one of the residents is accused of murder, his sister tries to get to the bottom of things. But what she uncovers about Town is the darkest and most shocking thing of all...

This was a slow burn. The novel dragged for me a little, though the story was most definitely redeemed by its ending, one that had me pausing and thinking about it for days afterward. How did I not see--and become so shocked--by what should have been so obvious from the beginning? Just as Cho Nam-Joo's previous novel Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 left me with a sense of anger at the way women are so often treated, Saha made me think about government corruption and human suffering.

Recommended.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia for my copy of Saha. 

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