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  • Writer's pictureJeffrey

Hannah Michell's, Excavations: A Literary Tour de Force

In the gripping novel Excavations, author Hannah Michell takes readers on a heart-stopping journey through the intricate web of human relationships and the relentless pursuit of truth. Set against the backdrop of bustling Seoul, Michell intricately intertwines the lives of her three protagonists: Sae, a determined former journalist; the Chairman of the Taehan Group, a man shrouded in mystery and power; and Myonghee, the proprietor of the enigmatic club that holds secrets untold.

 

Michell's narrative prowess shines brightly as she effortlessly navigates between the perspectives of her protagonists, drawing readers deeper into the labyrinth of deception and corruption that permeates every corner of Korean society. Through skillful storytelling, Michell seamlessly blends past and present, weaving a tapestry of intrigue that keeps readers on the edge of their seats until the very last page.

 

At its core, the novel is a poignant exploration of the complexities of family, love, and the insidious nature of greed. As Sae embarks on her quest to uncover the truth about her husband's disappearance, she is thrust into a world of dark secrets and dangerous alliances, where nothing is as it seems. Along the way, Michell skillfully delves into the rich tapestry of Korean history, offering readers a glimpse into a society grappling with the legacy of dictatorship and the struggle for justice.

 

But the novel is more than just a thrilling mystery; it is also a deeply intimate portrait of the human experience. Through Sae's journey, Michell explores the profound bonds of motherhood and the enduring power of love, even in the face of adversity. With each revelation and twist, Michell expertly peels back the layers of her characters, revealing their flaws, fears, and unbreakable spirits.

 

Having lived and worked in South Korea since 1990, I was immediately drawn to the historical and cultural references, which heightened my reading pleasure. To be sure, the novel is loosely based on the real-life tragedy of the 1995 Sampoong department store

collapse in Seoul, a tragedy which I remember quite well, watching the news daily as rescue workers searched for survivors.

 

Excavations is a powerful and thought-provoking novel that challenges readers to question the nature of truth and the depths of human resilience. With its compelling characters, intricate plot, and richly drawn setting, "Excavations" is a tour de force that demands to be read. In short, Hannah Michell's "Excavations" is a triumph of storytelling that will leave readers breathless and begging for more.

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