This novel delivers a 'mix of horror and elegance'

'Mina' by Kim Sagwa
'Mina' by Kim Sagwa
Courtesy of publisher

Every week, The Thread checks in with booksellers around the country about their favorite books of the moment. This week, we spoke with Annie Metcalf of Magers & Quinn in Minneapolis.

In the mood for something scary, but don't need it to be supernatural?

Try "Mina," an unsettling, unusual novel that follows a group of high school girls in South Korea.

Bookseller Annie Metcalf recommends it "for readers who want to be challenged and scared — but are also interested in new voices in translation."

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Written by Kim Sagwa, a novelist from South Korea, "Mina" was translated into English by Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton.

The book follows Crystal, and her friends Minho and Mina. Crystal "has a problem understanding and respecting people who have emotions and show emotions," Metcalf said. "She views these people with derision and incomprehension. She has a lot of rants about 'idiots around her.'

"When Mina and Crystal have a falling out, her scorn for these kind of people intensifies and her behavior gets more and more erratic. It leads to this gut-wrenching conclusion that is not for the faint of heart."

If you loved Han Kang's "The Vegetarian," which reached acclaim in 2016, "Mina" has a "similar mix of horror and elegance. It's really dreamlike, and there's some astounding little set pieces between Crystal and some of the other characters.

"It takes the unlikable protagonist to a whole new level, that I've never seen before. Sort of nihilist and brutal, but definitely great for people who are still sort of in Halloween mode," Metcalf said. There are no supernatural elements, but "the real world is plenty scary."

Mina Mina