Review – Steve Justice’s The One: The Tale of a Lost Romantic in Seoul
I have to say before I go any further that some books that are published by the author themselves come across as a vanity exercise, and then some leave you wondering how the author hasn’t been snapped up by a wealthy publishing house and been given a huge advance cheque. This book from Steve Justice is one of the latter.
A middle aged English professor is bored. Bored with his job and the lack of advancement, bored with a loveless marriage he feels trapped in, bored with his country, his family, his friends. He convinces his wife that a new challenge is needed and they move to South Korea. His wife teaches kindergarten, and he teaches the same things he was teaching in England. After several years of the mundane lifestyle, trapped in a poky flat outside the city, his wife confronts him and demands better conditions to live in, the family he always promised her, and they once again move to a larger apartment and the professor takes a job teaching at a larger, more reputable University. And so begins the journey into true love that would change everyone’s lives forever. He meets a younger woman, Hana, a student and falls head over heals for her. But life is not that simple.
Would you do anything for love?
Would you be crazy enough to do what’s necessary for the person who has won your heart?
This is not a romance novel, far from it, this is a stunning piece of thriller writing that has you so entrenched inside the head of the professor that you really don’t know where to turn come the end of the novel. Whether it is the fantastic tension in Justice’s narrative or even the realistic mundane feelings of being trapped that open the tale, there really are passages for any reader to enjoy in The One.
Why this is a self financed novel is beyond me, but I am glad someone had the foresight to unleash The One on the world. Publishers should be banging on the door of Steve Justice and demanding more books as quickly as they can. Justice’s grounding in English Literature has served him well, this is his Lolita if you will, but he manages to use the most simple of language to get inside the readers head. Many writers of this qualification like to show off how many big words they can use to describe something, yet it is the simplicity and restraint shown by Justice that allows the tale grip so tightly.
A must read.
***** 4 1/2 Stars!