The Shirley Jackson Award-winning writer from Seoul, Korea, narrates the parallel stories of two bereaved young women: Reclusive Se-oh finds her home in flames and her father dead, suspecting foul play and setting out on an investigation. Ki-jeong, a beleaguered high school teacher, receives a phone call from the police saying that her younger half-sister has committed suicide, and Ki-jeong tries to discover what secrets her sister might have had.
Although ambitious and abstract...existential questions acquire here a concrete form—they are investigated—not by philosophical or religious means—through the stories of two young women, Se-oh and Ki-jeong. Set in the vast South Korean suburban world, The Law of Lines travels through injustice, poverty, and grief, and exposes the thin threads that run between people who didn’t even know they were connected ... The narration, always in third person, moves through the protagonists with ease, then jerks unexpectedly and enters the conscience of secondary characters for a brief time—a police officer, the debt collector Su-oh, and the owner of a small shop. This fluctuation between points of view pushes the boundary between 'good' and 'bad' even further.
In this enigmatic tale...the story lines of the two leads intersect, but that happens late in the book and not in a very satisfying way. Despite sometimes moving portraits of characters in deep pain, the whole is less than the sum of its parts.