Longlisted for the 2024 Women’s Prize for Fiction
Longlisted for the 2024 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize, Best Published Novel
Shortlisted for the 2024 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing

8 Lives of a Century-Old Trickster


At the Golden Sunset retirement home, it is not unusual for residents to invent stories. So when elderly Ms Mook first begins to unspool her memories, the obituarist listening to her is sceptical. Stories of captivity, friendship, murder, adventure, assumed identities and spying. Stories that take place in WWII Indonesia; in Busan during the Korean war; in cold-war Pyongyang; in China. The stories are so colourful and various, at times so unbelievable, that they cannot surely all belong to the same woman. Can they?

As playful and thought-provoking as it is compelling, as brutal and harrowing as it is achingly poignant and tender, this is a novel about love and war, deceit and betrayal, about identity, storytelling and the trickery required for survival.

Buy links for international editions can be found on the HarperCollins link above.

All Praise

“A gripping story set against the backdrop of Korea’s turbulent history … Brilliant and original”
Washington Post

“Enthralling … Lee keeps readers hooked by expanding Mook’s universe.”
The New York Times Book Review

“Despite the darkness of the history it retells, this is primarily an adventure novel, fueled by the same righteous anger that turns ordinary mortals into masked superheroes.”
The Wall Street Journal

“A dazzling feat of narrative sophistication and historical invention.”
Financial Times

“A wild ride of a novel that embodies twentieth-century Korean history through the mesmerizing, heartbreaking and deeply fractured personal history of one woman and her many incarnations.”
—Monica Ali 

“Fantastically original doesn’t begin to describe this exhilarating, globe-spanning, decade-hopping masterpiece.”
—Junot Díaz, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao 
“Outstanding first novel from Mirinae Lee … 8 Lives of a Century-Old Trickster is enticing, profound and deeply moving, a testament both to Lee’s skill and the courage of her ancestor.”
BookPage, Starred Review 
“Soaring, fierce, bold, and intoxicating … An absolutely astonishing work of art.”
—Marjan Kamali, author of The Stationery Shop and Together Tea

“Lee’s smart, complex debut”
Kirkus Reviews

“Lee’s beautiful novel is a tale of survival, trauma, and love in the midst of modern Korea’s most tumultuous times. Her metaphorical and lyrical language, brutal and unsettling storytelling, and masterful prose will keep readers hooked until the very end.”
“Lee is a master at storytelling.”
—Lyn Liao Butler, author of Red Thread of Fate Inferno
“Lee presents compelling stories which deserve to be heard.”
—Asian Review of Books 
“A dazzling, visceral read.”
—Catherine Cho, author of Inferno
“Absolutely impossible to put down. Such a brilliant book, it will melt the hardest of hearts.”
—Independent Book Reviews
“Lee writes with sharp, ferocious energy, and I was riveted from the first page. An exquisitely accomplished debut.”
—Mira T. Lee, author of Everything Here Is Beautiful
8 Lives of a Century-Old Trickster packs the spellbinding, page-turning punch of a spy thriller while quietly delivering the lilting insights of Carmen María Machado and Ocean Vuong. Lee’s debut marks the arrival of a riveting new voice on the global literary stage.”
—Brittani Sonnenberg, author of Home Leave
“I have never put so much trust in a verified liar.”
—Alyssa Songsiridej, author of Little Rabbit
“Unapologetically rebellious, breathtakingly exhilarating, and deeply painful. Lee’s debut is a gift to all storytellers of diasporic imagination.”
—Joseph Juhn, director of Chosen

International Publishers

Harper in USA: June 13, 2023
Virago in UK: May 4, 2023
Penguin Random House in Spain
Editura Trei in Romania
Dioptra in Greece
Nord in Italy
Alpha in Denmark
Wisdom House in South Korea