The Korea Herald


[New in Korean] Star chef becomes president in black comedy 'Price King!!!'

By Hwang Dong-hee

Published : March 9, 2024 - 16:01

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"Price King!!!" by Kim Hong (Munhakdongne Publishing)

"Price King!!!"

By Kim Hong

Munhakdongne Publishing

The legendary merchant Batchi Crowder -- whose real name is Park Chi-guk -- started out as a street vendor in front of a bustling bus terminal, buying and selling all kinds of goods. He suddenly vanishes after selling off all his shares.

One day, he reappears in a quaint town on the outskirts of Seoul, announcing the grand opening of King Price Mart.

The confident slogan, “Anything not here? Not even in heaven!” is not a mere exaggeration. Vengeance, misfortune and oblivion are all readily available for swift one-day delivery. Park stands by his commitment, proudly declaring, "Payment after delivery. A name built on trust. Repay with quality."

The only employee of the store is 27-year-old Gu Cheon-gu, recruited with the assistance of his shaman mother. Her aim is to get her hands on Peter’s Fishing Gear, a talisman ensuring victory with a 53 percent vote in any election.

Meanwhile, the power struggle ensues among political factions vying to obtain this coveted item and, amid the chaos, star chef and culinary entrepreneur Baek Jong-won enters the presidential race, eventually winning the presidency.

You won’t be alone in wondering “What did I just read?” This is the initial plot of the award-winning “Price King!!!” by Kim Hong, who won the 29th Munhakdongne Novel Award.

Kim’s latest work delves into dual pillars of Korean society -- capitalism and the political system. The novel can be read as a satirical commentary on Korean politics, a black comedy, or as Gu’s coming-of-age, whose life is filled with tumultuous twists and turns.