Battle of Hearts: Decoy by Bae Myung-hoon
- onOctober 26, 2014
- Vol.18 Winter 2012
- byCho Yeon-jung
If Bae Myung-hoon’s previous novel, Divine Orbit, was about the world then his new book, Decoy, is about people; more specifically, it is a story about the human heart.
The narrator is a person that worked for the government as a secret assassin for 11 years; his first love, Kim Eun-gyeong is the daughter of a powerful man; and Eun-su, a reputed genius, worked with the narrator as his partner but was purportedly murdered by the organization when he left. Under orders from his organization, the narrator ends up seeing Eun-gyeong play the role of a corpse on stage in the Czech Republic, and Eun-su, who had vanished.
The novel is imaginative and has a well-constructed narrative, but Decoy is ultimately a glimpse into the heart. In the course of tempting, deceiving, and controlling each other in order to attain what each character wants, what is emphasized is not impeccable logic but the uncontrollable ways of the human heart.
Eun-su’s feelings toward the narrator, and the narrator’s love for Eun-gyeong, are what in the end propel the tightly woven narrative forward. The novel is not about the world, but really about the characters and how they operate. Decoy delves into serious themes, such as tendencies versus action, life and death, and love and evil; it offers an inroad into the abyss of the human heart through a story set in an endlessly cold and grim winter.