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The One: The Tale of a Lost Romantic in Seoul

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THE ONE is a psychological thriller/suspense about a man driven to the brink of insanity by his obsession with a forbidden love and his own self-delusion. A middle-aged professor, disillusioned and jaded by a loveless marriage and a stale career, makes the move to South Korea in an attempt to bring excitement into his life. What he finds is more of the same: a never-ending THE ONE is a psychological thriller/suspense about a man driven to the brink of insanity by his obsession with a forbidden love and his own self-delusion. A middle-aged professor, disillusioned and jaded by a loveless marriage and a stale career, makes the move to South Korea in an attempt to bring excitement into his life. What he finds is more of the same: a never-ending repetition of existence without meaning. It is only when a woman much younger than himself, one of his own students, engages him intellectually and emotionally that he finally feels alive. Despite the fear of the taboo of a potential relationship, he feels himself drawing closer to this girl who has brought colour into an otherwise stale and grey life. When this girl is taken away from him, he decides to do as all romantic heroes must: whatever it takes to make her his own. No matter the cost, he will get her back. * Bronze Medal Winner in the 2014 Readers' Favorite International Contest - Intrigue Category

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THE ONE is a psychological thriller/suspense about a man driven to the brink of insanity by his obsession with a forbidden love and his own self-delusion. A middle-aged professor, disillusioned and jaded by a loveless marriage and a stale career, makes the move to South Korea in an attempt to bring excitement into his life. What he finds is more of the same: a never-ending THE ONE is a psychological thriller/suspense about a man driven to the brink of insanity by his obsession with a forbidden love and his own self-delusion. A middle-aged professor, disillusioned and jaded by a loveless marriage and a stale career, makes the move to South Korea in an attempt to bring excitement into his life. What he finds is more of the same: a never-ending repetition of existence without meaning. It is only when a woman much younger than himself, one of his own students, engages him intellectually and emotionally that he finally feels alive. Despite the fear of the taboo of a potential relationship, he feels himself drawing closer to this girl who has brought colour into an otherwise stale and grey life. When this girl is taken away from him, he decides to do as all romantic heroes must: whatever it takes to make her his own. No matter the cost, he will get her back. * Bronze Medal Winner in the 2014 Readers' Favorite International Contest - Intrigue Category

30 review for The One: The Tale of a Lost Romantic in Seoul

  1. 4 out of 5

    Marc Secchia

    The One, subtitled 'A Tale of a Lost Romantic in Seoul' is an artfully observed psychological thriller which tells the tale of a banal life corrupted inwardly by first attraction, which morphs into obsession, and eventually madness and darkness descend. In some thrillers the reader feels as though they are on the shoulder of the main character, seeing their thoughts. Not so in The One. The reader is placed right inside the main character's head and thoughts, the good and the ugly, in a sharply o The One, subtitled 'A Tale of a Lost Romantic in Seoul' is an artfully observed psychological thriller which tells the tale of a banal life corrupted inwardly by first attraction, which morphs into obsession, and eventually madness and darkness descend. In some thrillers the reader feels as though they are on the shoulder of the main character, seeing their thoughts. Not so in The One. The reader is placed right inside the main character's head and thoughts, the good and the ugly, in a sharply observed and internally consistent dialogue which is nevertheless disturbing and ultimately compelling. You might not like the character. You might hate him. You might not like what he does. But you will be drawn into a spider's web of passion, madness and betrayal. Well written with subtle and effective use of backstory to flesh out the main character, The One reminded me of a contemporary version of Nabokov's Lolita. Nevertheless I felt there were two main drawbacks; the caricaturisation of main character's wife as 'the wife' which denied her becoming a force in the story apart from an ephemeral and ineffective occasional voice, and occasionally a lagging effect in the pace as the internal dialogue overpowered the storytelling. However, if psychological thriller is your genre, then prepare to have the obligatory shiver descend your spine as you turn the pages of this subtle thriller. Beneath the layers of an ordinary life lies a deep, dark well which is plumbed by the author; a dark obsession, dreadful deeds (I shan't give a blow-by-blow summary of the plot to avoid a spoiler) and a satisfying conclusion. This is a worthwhile work and comes highly recommended. I thank Steve Justice for proving a copy in exchange for an honest, non-reciprocal review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sherrod Wall

    Steve Justice's The One tells the story of an unnamed, discontent professor who desperately wants to feel like he is living his life rather than just submitting to the whims of others. Through the professor's thoughts and actions, Justice expresses the unpredictable and irresistible passions of love and what it can drive a desperate man to do. The professor's frame of mind is gradually overtaken by his need for appreciation, affection and companionship. His decisions reshape his responsible, con Steve Justice's The One tells the story of an unnamed, discontent professor who desperately wants to feel like he is living his life rather than just submitting to the whims of others. Through the professor's thoughts and actions, Justice expresses the unpredictable and irresistible passions of love and what it can drive a desperate man to do. The professor's frame of mind is gradually overtaken by his need for appreciation, affection and companionship. His decisions reshape his responsible, conservative mindset into one of wild, almost masochistic abandon, making him a hazard for himself and anyone who gets in the way of his wants. I urge readers to read beyond the chauvinistic, narrow minded personality of the professor and view the brilliance behind the scenes of Justice's work. This novel is meant to be enjoyed as a psychological thriller. The effects of jealously, tragedy, more than a decade of unfulfillment, and a lackluster marriage, congeal in the mind of the professor over the course of the novel and bring his characterization to life. Past the mid-point of the novel, I read not for the plot (though it is well told and well constructed) but to understand the professor's changing psyche, and to observe how his transformation would affect his life and the lives of those he holds most dear. For readers looking for a thrilling, literary read, this novel is definitely "the one". Okay bad pun... but seriously, Steve Justice's "The One" will satisfy your needs for a fresh literary voice. Coupled with the excitement of how the professor's search for romance is going to conclude and if all his efforts are going to leave him better or worse, this is a novel you do not want to pass up. Five stars.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Bracha

    I liked this a lot. It's a slow burner. It not so much bursts from the traps as it does strides confidently from them, looks around, does things in its own time, and then when you're comfortable, it goes for the jugular. It's the tale of an unnamed narrator. He's a university professor, uprooted from an unfulfilling life in England with a wife he doesn't love, and planted back into the soil in Korea, or Seoul to be more specific (Seoul soil?), where he finds himself living an unfulfilling life wi I liked this a lot. It's a slow burner. It not so much bursts from the traps as it does strides confidently from them, looks around, does things in its own time, and then when you're comfortable, it goes for the jugular. It's the tale of an unnamed narrator. He's a university professor, uprooted from an unfulfilling life in England with a wife he doesn't love, and planted back into the soil in Korea, or Seoul to be more specific (Seoul soil?), where he finds himself living an unfulfilling life with a wife he doesn't love, and a 'best friend' he barely knows. He teaches English Literature in a university where a falsified pass rate is infinitely more important than the education of Korea's young. Enter Hana Kim, an 18 year old student with both beauty and intelligence on her side. She approaches our narrator to discuss works of literature, and the pair begin regular meetings to discuss books, and life in general. From here on in he becomes besotted by the girl, initially by what she represents, which is a release from the mundanity of his existence. The longer the book goes on, the more unhinged and dangerous his obsession becomes. So yeah. It's a slow burner, but it's compulsive reading from the off. I had the narrator pegged as a selfish and blinkered fool early on, the way he constantly refers to his Mrs as 'The wife' with a disdain best reserved for enemies, the descriptions of his childhood spattered with venom whenever his over bearing mother is mentioned. He screams out to be shaken, and told to grow up, but I don't think he'd listen. Steve Justice has created a superb character in his narrator, and he fleshes the man out in such an expert manner that it's hard to believe that this is a debut. The bizarre mental justifications for his equally bizarre actions have you clenching your teeth in annoyance, wishing you could 'have a word' with him, to try to shake some sense into his stupid head. Seriously, it's getting me mad just thinking about it. And that, my friends, is one of the many strengths to Steve Justice's writing, he draws a reaction from you. He doesn't just tell you a story, he pulls you in to watch from close up, but without the luxury of being able to do anything about it. So I'd recommend this book any day of the week. The author has created an unhinged anti-hero to rival the best of them. Truly, if this is how strong Steve Justice's debut novel is, I'm almost scared of what it will look like when he takes it to the next level. Powerful stuff.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    The Tale of a Lost Romantic in Seoul by Steve Justice is a novel as remarkable as its title that tells the story of a middle-aged English professor and his struggles to come to terms with his normal and nice but unhappy life. Trapped in a marriage that was never his desire, enslaved by a job that only brings routine and disillusion, living in a country with no excitement, he decides to abandon his perfectly fine life and move to South Korea with the hope of a new and stimulating life. Unfortunat The Tale of a Lost Romantic in Seoul by Steve Justice is a novel as remarkable as its title that tells the story of a middle-aged English professor and his struggles to come to terms with his normal and nice but unhappy life. Trapped in a marriage that was never his desire, enslaved by a job that only brings routine and disillusion, living in a country with no excitement, he decides to abandon his perfectly fine life and move to South Korea with the hope of a new and stimulating life. Unfortunately, his new life will only bring the same meaningless routine and the same feelings of discontent; in fact, all that changed was the landscape. His life only begins to find its meaning when he encounters a younger woman, and realizes that could be the intellectual match he has been looking for all along. Intelligence and youth are powerful aphrodisiacs and the professor would soon find out how much darkness and hurt can be caused by an oppressed and tortured soul. To say that The Tale of a Lost Romantic in Seoul is a beautifully written psychological thriller with an unforeseen outcome is an understatement. Resembling Nabokov’s Lolita, Steve Justice’s novel has a way of making you get into the protagonist’s mind, and even if there may be time when you guess the outcome, the professor comes along and pushes you back into his world of disillusion and false hope. The slow pace of the story complements the psychological profiles of the characters and keeps readers from anticipating the ending. Even if in the beginning you would find it hard to empathize with the professor, by the time you read more than half way you find yourself so deep into his head that you would not have it any other way. The professor sees himself as a lost romantic, a hero on a mission to find the one he loves and to offer her eternal happiness; all that gets in the way is a string of obstacles that he has to overcome in order to have his happy-ever-after, no matter who he ends up hurting in the process. This book was a pleasure from cover to cover, and even though it is not a story with a happy ending, it offers everything a good psychological thriller should. (Reviewed for Readers' Favorite)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lita

    Love it!. Insightful. Intriguing. An absolute MUST READ. Would definitely recommend!. In the beginning, it has the narrator spout what he did. Like having a conversation (something I took quite a liking to) with a third party outsider with no personal interest in the matter, but nontheless a story to be told. This particular story pulled me in not because of the fact that it was a student/teacher complex, but that it was of a completely different perspective. The persona of the narrator is probabl Love it!. Insightful. Intriguing. An absolute MUST READ. Would definitely recommend!. In the beginning, it has the narrator spout what he did. Like having a conversation (something I took quite a liking to) with a third party outsider with no personal interest in the matter, but nontheless a story to be told. This particular story pulled me in not because of the fact that it was a student/teacher complex, but that it was of a completely different perspective. The persona of the narrator is probably more common then we think, but we never really get to hear from this side of things, especially the teacher's point of view. I know I haven't; I have literally never read anything like this before. How the narrator mentions the other people in his life obviously explains how much of a constant they are in his life and of there importance to him. In his wife's case, lack thereof for she is not given the credit of importance, but rather the credit of inconvenience, the old ball and chain as the narrator so eloquently puts it. The only person he considered a friend would be Adam, but that does not last. When his student, Hana Kim, makes her presence known, the shock the narrator felt was sure enough to give him wiplash. His infatuation with her soon became an obsession. His life was so uneventful before that mosts thing he started to do post-Hana, even the smallest gesture I felt chills up my back everytime he got the courage to do something out of the ordinary. What had actually stood out to me was that he only wanted somebody to love, and be loved. He was certainly missing that in his childhood. The only other time was with his first love, Jess. When he confides in Adam about everything, the reaction Adam has finally dawns on me as to why he is his bravado, wild, and single self. He mentioned before what he yearned for, although the narrator didn't pay much attention to it. My solution was to switch their places in life, and they would be right at home. They envied one another, and my guess would be that if they had grown up in the other's shoes, they would turn out exactly the way that seemed fitting for them. But things didn't work that way. Everything the narrator said I either ate up or made me think, agreed with or agreed to disagree. This was something refreshing to me to read, and I loved every bit of the author's outstanding writing.

  6. 5 out of 5

    J. Percy

    Is this the main character's voice, or is it my own? Steve Justice, through his attention to the fine details of human thought, communication, and interaction, builds an unbelievably believable narrative that eerily works its way in to the reader’s psyche. Expertly guiding the reader to the event horizon - that point of no return - he then releases your hand, leaving the twisted anti-hero and your own imagination to do the rest. The protagonist’s life is fine. A fine wife, a fine home, a fine job Is this the main character's voice, or is it my own? Steve Justice, through his attention to the fine details of human thought, communication, and interaction, builds an unbelievably believable narrative that eerily works its way in to the reader’s psyche. Expertly guiding the reader to the event horizon - that point of no return - he then releases your hand, leaving the twisted anti-hero and your own imagination to do the rest. The protagonist’s life is fine. A fine wife, a fine home, a fine job. He doesn’t want fine, he wants more. Upon relocating from England to South Korea as an English professor, nothing changes. That is, until Hana Kim, aka Lolita, enters the picture. But what begins as an exciting relationship with his much younger pupil, quickly turns to dark obsession. Leaving all spoilers to Justice’s work itself, the relationship between the professor and his student, in all manifestations, is guaranteed to incite emotion. Dark, bizarre, with a logic that makes it all the more disturbing. At times you will find yourself rationalizing alongside the protagonist, at others, you’ll find yourself beyond aggravated with his slippery grip on reality. I conclude with high recommendation. Lost? Check. Seoul? Check. Romantic? Double check, with a heavy dose of disquieting intention. Deceptively dark, you won’t know you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole until it’s too late. I look forward to more from Mr. Justice. J. Glen Percy, Author of A Few Lives Lost

  7. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Rose

    While reading this, I was reminded very much of Notes from Underground by Dostoyevsky. The tone is similar, but I would not call this a knockoff. It very much stands on its own. The One centers on an anti-hero who thinks he's the good guy. Justice unfolds the depths of his depravity and detachment from reality slowly, especially at first. He (the narrator) starts out irritating. His incessant whining about how he's not free and society is plotting against him made me want to chuck the collected w While reading this, I was reminded very much of Notes from Underground by Dostoyevsky. The tone is similar, but I would not call this a knockoff. It very much stands on its own. The One centers on an anti-hero who thinks he's the good guy. Justice unfolds the depths of his depravity and detachment from reality slowly, especially at first. He (the narrator) starts out irritating. His incessant whining about how he's not free and society is plotting against him made me want to chuck the collected works of Soren Kierkegaard directly into his face. It wasn't until the last third of the book that things changed and I understood the true depths of the character. This is a well-written and compelling book. I recommend it; just don't expect a fun read. PROS: Interesting story Clear and well-written Unpredictable plot Reminded me of my own time in Korea CONS: Annoying (and then disturbing) narrator Very few sympathetic characters

  8. 5 out of 5

    R.l.

    Gripping! I really do not want to give anything about this story away, because it such a thrilling and twisted tale, I want the reader to experience it for themselves without any clues as to what waits for them. All I can say, without giving anything away, is wow, this is one of those stories that will haunt you forever after you read it. I want to say that this is done in a first person narrative, and it is, but it is so much more. The author really puts the reader in the mind of the main charac Gripping! I really do not want to give anything about this story away, because it such a thrilling and twisted tale, I want the reader to experience it for themselves without any clues as to what waits for them. All I can say, without giving anything away, is wow, this is one of those stories that will haunt you forever after you read it. I want to say that this is done in a first person narrative, and it is, but it is so much more. The author really puts the reader in the mind of the main character, so much so that at times it feels like it isn't fiction at all. And watch for Adam, as for me, he represented in a metaphorical kind of way, the reader. A really intriguing and well written story. Time richly spent. *FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the author in exchange for my review. The opinions are my own.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Miller

    What I like most about Steve Justice's The One: The Tale of a Lost Romantic in Seoul, is the way the story grabs you from the very beginning and takes you on this gut and heart wrenching roller coaster ride of emotions and passions. Part confessional, part psychological thriller, Justice is brilliant in bringing to light the story of a love gone sour between a teacher and his student. However, this is not your run-of-the-mill ill-fated romance. This story is dark, troubling, and riveting. The bo What I like most about Steve Justice's The One: The Tale of a Lost Romantic in Seoul, is the way the story grabs you from the very beginning and takes you on this gut and heart wrenching roller coaster ride of emotions and passions. Part confessional, part psychological thriller, Justice is brilliant in bringing to light the story of a love gone sour between a teacher and his student. However, this is not your run-of-the-mill ill-fated romance. This story is dark, troubling, and riveting. The book grabs you and will not let you go until the very last sentence. Once I started reading it, I could not put it down until I finished. Well done, Mr. Justice.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Hl

    It is an intriguing story, which I enjoyed a lot. It was interesting to follow the flow of consciousness that seemed to change (of the main character) as the story continued. From a weak human being to eventually a sociopath. I especially like the part where the author intentionally indicated his wife as "the wife" instead of "my wife", to make readers feel the distance between this couple. I am hoping to read other books of the author.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Simon

    For a debut novel, this is an exciting read. What Steve Justice has created here is a great jaunt along with the reader that is funny, pacey and compelling. Although I'm no expert in these matters, it does come across as very cleverly written - the language is plain, easy to read, but conveys sparingly. Definitely recommend - would like to see more from this author!!!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Paul Cunningham

    The One's first person narrator is a nameless, middle aged English professor who becomes obsessed with a student. There is a lot of internal monologue, navel-gazing and recollection of past events. What narrative there is, initially, is unremarkable, and the narrator is weak and self-obsessed: not someone you might normally wish to spend time with. But for all this, both he and his story are strangely compulsive, and I couldn't leave this book alone. I'm glad I didn't because it took me to some The One's first person narrator is a nameless, middle aged English professor who becomes obsessed with a student. There is a lot of internal monologue, navel-gazing and recollection of past events. What narrative there is, initially, is unremarkable, and the narrator is weak and self-obsessed: not someone you might normally wish to spend time with. But for all this, both he and his story are strangely compulsive, and I couldn't leave this book alone. I'm glad I didn't because it took me to some very strange places, and I felt quite dazzled in parts by the way it bucked my expectations. Even during the set up, when everything seems pretty normal, there are unsettling undercurrents. The student, Hana, at first appears too perfect, too much like a sad middle aged teacher's wet dream, and it did occur to me that she might only have existed in the narrator's imagination. But later she is shown, quite jarringly, to be a very believable and rough edged human being. The novel is full of skillful turns like this that keep the reader guessing and also gradually reveal the rift between the narrator's perceptions and the reality he inhabits. There are long periods where very little happens except in the narrator's head, but when the action does kick in it's very effective. I think that some of the internal longueurs, while I see their purpose, could have been tightened up. And my chief criticism would be that I didn't sympathise with the narrator at any point. His transition from annoying to scary is expertly handled, but I'd like to have had an initial stage where he was somewhat likeable. I think it would have given a better arc to the character and more of a hook for the reader. So, a 4.5 rating, but I'm on holiday, so I'm rounding up. The author has achieved something quite dark and daring with this novel. I was reminded of Kazuo Ishiguro a bit, and Ian McEwan. I definitely thought of Hitchcock. That's pretty good company.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alex Timberman

    First of all I commend the author on his efforts. A lot of work and time and preparation surely went into it. I just could not relate to the protagonist who is a foreign professor in Korea that falls in love with an 18 year old Korean student. I know it is fiction. Moreover, the main character was a real loser if there ever was one. He was ridiculously lame and in the last part of the book, the author introduced some scenes where other characters pointed out his deplorable and creepy character bu First of all I commend the author on his efforts. A lot of work and time and preparation surely went into it. I just could not relate to the protagonist who is a foreign professor in Korea that falls in love with an 18 year old Korean student. I know it is fiction. Moreover, the main character was a real loser if there ever was one. He was ridiculously lame and in the last part of the book, the author introduced some scenes where other characters pointed out his deplorable and creepy character but that was too late for me. At the beginning of the book I was trying to relate. At the end of the book I found out that the guy was nuts. The ride from point A to point B though was too steep. Besides the girl character was not written about in such a way as to be that attractive for a man in the protagonist’s shoes to behave in the way he did. (In my opinion) He was psychotic and feeble. Other criticisms are that there were a lot of grammatical errors in the beginning of the book. Furthermore, the book could have used more dialogue. Plus I felt like I was stuck in the lead character’s mind just going around and around in his petty feedback loops. Maybe this is how people act when they are desperate and in love. The writing quality did get a lot better as the book went on. The author is in touch with emotions and Korea and at times had brilliant scenes in the style of a Murakami book. The book was riveting in its own way. Like a psychological thriller. But I couldn't understand the lead character and his behavior and wish the book would have been professionally edited. Perhaps my dislike for the story is all subjective and I just didn't take it well. Interesting book and I hope the author future success.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ryshia Kennie

    The One is narrated in first person by the protagonist who is a foreign professor in a Korean University. He’s restless. He knows there’s more to life but he’s caught in the relentless and boring beats of daily living. There’s nothing about his life that’s exciting, even his wife is drab. Life couldn’t be any duller for him. He doesn’t love his wife and he’s lost the woman he did love. And then he meets Hana – a student in his class, she approaches him to discuss literature. And after each priva The One is narrated in first person by the protagonist who is a foreign professor in a Korean University. He’s restless. He knows there’s more to life but he’s caught in the relentless and boring beats of daily living. There’s nothing about his life that’s exciting, even his wife is drab. Life couldn’t be any duller for him. He doesn’t love his wife and he’s lost the woman he did love. And then he meets Hana – a student in his class, she approaches him to discuss literature. And after each private meeting with Hana, he becomes more captivated until the inevitable happens and they have sex. It’s then that everything starts to fall apart. Hana never returns to his office after that and the more she stays away, the more captivated he becomes. In fact he seems to be determined to ruin his life while trouncing selfishly over everyone around him in an effort to keep Hana or more aptly, to get her back. While there were places where I found his conversation with some characters juvenile, on reflection I think that might have been the author’s purpose. The protagonist is immature in many ways including his relationship with his wife and his pursuit of Hana. In fact, he’s not even very likeable but contradictorily his story is captivating. In an intriguing story that goes in a direction I never expected, The One takes you on a journey to the dark side of love and into the twisted soul of a man who isn’t quite as dull as he’d have you believe.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Susanne Leist

    The narrator is a professor who had moved with his wife to South Korea to teach English Literature at a university. He is an unhappy soul who has no respect for his wife. He calls her "the wife" and describes her as manipulative and selfish. He had promised her that they would begin a family in Korea. But he's much too selfish and self-centered to have children. He believes he needs freedom to grow up and explore, even though he's middle-aged. He didn't care for his mother either, who had alread The narrator is a professor who had moved with his wife to South Korea to teach English Literature at a university. He is an unhappy soul who has no respect for his wife. He calls her "the wife" and describes her as manipulative and selfish. He had promised her that they would begin a family in Korea. But he's much too selfish and self-centered to have children. He believes he needs freedom to grow up and explore, even though he's middle-aged. He didn't care for his mother either, who had already passed away. His one true love was a girl named Jess, who died young. He cherishes and immortalizes her memory. He begins to do the same thing with one of his students. He falls in love with her, sleeps once with her, and then stalks her. He removes any obstacles in their way like a friend of hers. He has the boy expelled under false pretenses. Even though this girl, Hana, denies any feelings for him, he still romanticizes their relationship. He confides his deeds to his friend, Adam. Adam calls him sick and says that they were never friends. The walls begin to close in around the crazy professor. The boy that he set up has a family to fight for him. The university is beginning to doubt him. His wife knows he's acting strange even for him. He's pushed against a wall and does the unthinkable. And of course, he rationalizes it away like everything else in his life. The book was written well. I felt like I was descending with the narrator into the depths of his demented mind.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Diamond Drake

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Unfortunately, I couldn't finish this one. The idea of the story was very intriguing to me but by chapter five I was still being told of things to come while not much was actually happening. I got that the main character couldn't stand his wife because that was stated over and over again. And, initially, I was drawn in because I thought his gripes were just to help the reader understand how he'd come to get involved with Hana. As the chapters went on, however, what started off as a bit of backgr Unfortunately, I couldn't finish this one. The idea of the story was very intriguing to me but by chapter five I was still being told of things to come while not much was actually happening. I got that the main character couldn't stand his wife because that was stated over and over again. And, initially, I was drawn in because I thought his gripes were just to help the reader understand how he'd come to get involved with Hana. As the chapters went on, however, what started off as a bit of background information turned into whining, complaining, bitchiness which made the main character undesirable, to me. I had planned to continue in the hopes that things might take a turn for the better but the fact that chapter six began with more whining and complaining about "the wife" was enough for me to throw in the towel. On a side note (more of a personal pet peeve)the author made it known that he was aware of the errors throughout the book but I don't think The One should've been offered in the condition in which I received it. The grammatical and punctuation errors were very noticeable and, in some instances, distracting. That's just my personal opinion, however, and I know that's not something that bothers all readers. *************I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion************

  17. 5 out of 5

    F.P. Spirit

    Let me begin by saying this is not my typical genre. That being said, this is a riveting tale. I found myself horrified at the warped thought processes of the main character, an English college professor in South Korea. Despite this, I found myself strangely compelled to read on. I credit this to the writing skills of the author. Steve Justice is a master with the written word. He weaves a believable, if ugly, tale of the character’s descent into near insanity, sparked by an obsessive relationsh Let me begin by saying this is not my typical genre. That being said, this is a riveting tale. I found myself horrified at the warped thought processes of the main character, an English college professor in South Korea. Despite this, I found myself strangely compelled to read on. I credit this to the writing skills of the author. Steve Justice is a master with the written word. He weaves a believable, if ugly, tale of the character’s descent into near insanity, sparked by an obsessive relationship with one of his students. The main character is an unhappy soul with a routine, boring job and a loveless marriage. His one true love died when he was younger, and it appears that a piece of his soul died with her. He merely exists from day to day till he meets the young student who becomes the object of his fantasies. The story follows the character from there, through his growing obsession with what can only turn out to be a destructive relationship. The character’s rationalizations along the way are far too real. It is a frightening look into the psyche of an emotionally damaged individual. Overall, “The One” is very well written. It is an excellent first book for a first time author. I can only imagine what Steve Justice will produce next.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Hock Tjoa

    This is a well written book, almost impeccably so except my copy had a few typos and erratic indentations of paragraphs. I liked the many flashes of wit: the "depressing little area" that didn't "have the right to call itself a neighbourhood," the wife's "cutting insight of a boiled potato," the Dean's default expression of "confusion and displeasure," and the references to Orwell, Conrad, Amis, et al. But, whatever the author says or thinks, this book will inevitably be compared with Lolita and This is a well written book, almost impeccably so except my copy had a few typos and erratic indentations of paragraphs. I liked the many flashes of wit: the "depressing little area" that didn't "have the right to call itself a neighbourhood," the wife's "cutting insight of a boiled potato," the Dean's default expression of "confusion and displeasure," and the references to Orwell, Conrad, Amis, et al. But, whatever the author says or thinks, this book will inevitably be compared with Lolita and he will be accused of writing to Nabokov's template. I think also that the title is misleading; this is not the story of a romantic, of one who "prefers strong emotions over strong opinions." This is a story of a man who cannot get going without a woman, whether it is Jess or Ha Na, to provide him with strong emotions. By himself he is, as he puts it, an expert "motion-goer," one who goes through the motions. The MC's self-centered descent into a delusional, malicious sociopath is not pretty. Nothing in this book is, except the believable tone, and sure and steady voice of the MC himself.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kelley

    Well written & thoroughly enjoyable, this book will sink its claws into you and not let go until you've completed the downward spiral the main character travels. The main character is suffering a midlife crisis: he's not happy with his job, his wife, his life. Compounding all of that, he can't seem to let go of his first love, someone who died years ago but still haunts his memories. The main character believes that a little change in scenery will solve everything and convinces his wife to m Well written & thoroughly enjoyable, this book will sink its claws into you and not let go until you've completed the downward spiral the main character travels. The main character is suffering a midlife crisis: he's not happy with his job, his wife, his life. Compounding all of that, he can't seem to let go of his first love, someone who died years ago but still haunts his memories. The main character believes that a little change in scenery will solve everything and convinces his wife to move to South Korea where he can get a well-paying job as a college professor that could expedite their plans to start a family. Even in a new country, a new house, and a new job, the main character isn't happy. That is until he meets Hana - one of his students that reminds him of his deceased first love. His curiosity over Hana turns into obsession, leading him to do things no sane person would do, all in attempt to reclaim a love he once had that he can never have again. If you're a fan of this genre, then this is a must read!

  20. 4 out of 5

    K.W. Benton

    So I have to say this book has an interesting story and I liked some of the author's ways of getting you where he wanted you to go. What was tough was I never liked the protagonist, he never drew me in. So for how long the book was I felt I had to work for the story to keep my attention. I really think the author working with a good editor could have something special. While there are some hiccups in formatting for the mobi file and everyone has the occasional grammatical oops. What I mean is th So I have to say this book has an interesting story and I liked some of the author's ways of getting you where he wanted you to go. What was tough was I never liked the protagonist, he never drew me in. So for how long the book was I felt I had to work for the story to keep my attention. I really think the author working with a good editor could have something special. While there are some hiccups in formatting for the mobi file and everyone has the occasional grammatical oops. What I mean is this author obviously loves words and has a tendency to slow down the story with the over abundance of their use. Hence the three stars. The story itself is worthy and if you stick with it, it picks up by the end.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Philip

    I enjoyed the book. For me it was different than other thrillers that I have read. The 'thriller' was what would you do and how far would you go to get the love of your life? It is about a professor; which in his life is a wife, a dean of university, a student and a friend. It is all written from his point of view. It was a book that you wanted to keep reading to find out what was going to happen in his marriage, how having sex with a student would effect his life and after confessing to a frien I enjoyed the book. For me it was different than other thrillers that I have read. The 'thriller' was what would you do and how far would you go to get the love of your life? It is about a professor; which in his life is a wife, a dean of university, a student and a friend. It is all written from his point of view. It was a book that you wanted to keep reading to find out what was going to happen in his marriage, how having sex with a student would effect his life and after confessing to a friend, how would he react to his doings. Plus, the additive to it was How far will a Professor go to get what he wants out of his new 'happy' life.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Courtney Daisey

    This novel is very different from my usual choice of books. However different is a good thing. The story of the professor and Hana Kim is reminiscent of Lolita with a more modern twist. The story is a little bit slow in the beginning but the words Steve Justice uses weave a tapestry of a tale bringing the imagery and emotions to life on the pages before you. The more I read, the more I wanted to read. I was captivated by this novel and truly look forward to reading more of the works of Steve Jus This novel is very different from my usual choice of books. However different is a good thing. The story of the professor and Hana Kim is reminiscent of Lolita with a more modern twist. The story is a little bit slow in the beginning but the words Steve Justice uses weave a tapestry of a tale bringing the imagery and emotions to life on the pages before you. The more I read, the more I wanted to read. I was captivated by this novel and truly look forward to reading more of the works of Steve Justice.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Manheim Wagner

    Simultaneously a page-turner and a slow burn, The One: The Tale of a Lost Romantic in Seoul channels the likes Kingsley Amis and Vladimir Nabokov, as its unreliable and unnamed narrator recounts his morose sense of ennui that he calls his life. Dominated by his wife, the memory of his mother and the memory of his first love, he chases and lusts after a woman half his age (a student of his literature classes), while filling himself with never-to-be-fulfilled fantasy. A twisted book for sure, The O Simultaneously a page-turner and a slow burn, The One: The Tale of a Lost Romantic in Seoul channels the likes Kingsley Amis and Vladimir Nabokov, as its unreliable and unnamed narrator recounts his morose sense of ennui that he calls his life. Dominated by his wife, the memory of his mother and the memory of his first love, he chases and lusts after a woman half his age (a student of his literature classes), while filling himself with never-to-be-fulfilled fantasy. A twisted book for sure, The One: The Tale of a Lost Romantic in Seoul is a book you won't soon forget.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Monika

    This book is not my favorite book. I did read it all to the end, though I must say, I wanted to put it away more than one time. For the longest time I felt it didn't go anywhere. I think the story could have been written shorter. Though I got to admit....I didn't see the ending coming! That was a surprise.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mary Ebert

    O how i hated this book. The narrator is self centered annoying and dull. He wants to change his life but only complicates it. Unless you have problems sleeping AVOID

  26. 4 out of 5

    Steven Ure

    A disturbing look into the mind of an obsessive hopeless romantic. Gets creepier the further you read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Adela

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dorothy mae Johnson

  29. 5 out of 5

    Terri

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mia Redgrave

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