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The Disaster Tourist: A Novel Paperback – August 4, 2020

3.8 out of 5 stars 300 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

An Entropy Best Book of the Year
A
Harper's Bazaar Best Book of the Year

"This tale of complicity and denial (reintroduced in a new English translation by Lizzie Buehler this summer) feels nauseatingly on point this year. Hurtling from a Seoul office building to a remote desert island in Southeast Asia, Yun’s late–capitalist satire makes the case that the identity we find through work is almost always shaped by how we have been exploited—or how we have exploited others . . . As in the real world, death in
The Disaster Tourist becomes more optional the more powerful you are."
—Madeline Leung Coleman, The Atlantic

"Yun’s cool, clinical prose is devoid of sentimentality; her deadpan delivery both advances the morbidly hilarious plot and amplifies the drama of ecological disaster made for tourist profit . . . Yun blends satire with metafictional play: her characters meld into the pages of their books; sentences and screenplays bleed out into reality . . . This is an extravagant, clever, unpredictable story that walks the razor edge of horror–comedy . . .
The Disaster Tourist lays out contemporary life as a theatre of absurdity: all begin as dark, dark comedies about office anhedonia and veer into colourful chaos."
—Esther Kim, The White Review

"Yun Ko–eun presents a dystopian feminist ecothriller that takes on climate change, sexual assault, greed and dark tourism. This is a unique, mysterious and engrossing novel."
—Karla Strand, Ms. Magazine

"Following a spate of recent fiction considering the strange intersection of our work and leisure lives—novels such as Ling Ma’s apocalyptic satire
Severance and Sayaka Murata’s oddly affecting Convenience Store WomanThe Disaster Tourist offers up another fresh and sharp story about life under late capitalism . . . Witty and absurd, then suspenseful, even terror–filled . . . This is an entertaining eco–thriller that sets out to illuminate the way climate change is inextricably bound up with the pressures of global capitalism."
—Saba Ahmed, The Guardian

"[A] mordantly witty novel . . . This propulsive novel reads like a highly literary, ultra–incisive thriller; it reminds us that the disasters with which we are now grappling with on a near daily basis are not acts of god, they're acts of man."
—Kristin Iverson, Refinery29

"Fits perfectly into a growing wave of eco–thrillers and darkly funny fiction that grapples with climate change . . . It's a witty, unsentimental, grimly believable story that neatly weaves together sharp critiques of capitalism, the heartlessness it rewards, and the poverty, environmental disasters, and misogyny it engenders."
—Arianna Rebolini, BuzzFeed

"This firecracker of a novel from South Korean writer Ko–eun could not be more timely, with themes around climate tourism, activism, and the #MeToo movement . . . This is a fast–paced thriller–esque story that skillfully addresses individual complicity in harm, and the morality of a fascination with disaster."
—Sarah Neilson, Shondaland

"
The Disaster Tourist poses an uneasy question: Are we, as humans, observing the disaster or creating it? The characters each play a role in answering this . . . Around Yun’s characters, the natural landscape absorbs, adapts to, and reacts to these interventions, providing hidden avenues for both destruction and redemption—depending on which path a character chooses."
—Ysabelle Cheung, Sierra Magazine

"A compact and propulsive dystopian thriller that stands out as one of 2020’s best works of translated literature."
—Sophia Stewart, Asymptote Journal

"Unsettling, off–kilter, and at times very funny . . . The novel is deeply moral without feeling moralizing, and its anxiety feels free–floating until it builds to a fever pitch. Read it, and find some relief in the fact that you won’t be traveling for a while."
—Jessie Gaynor, Literary Hub

"A tightly plotted, whip–smart satire, and the stakes heighten with every page. Ko–Eun’s writing is unpretentious, deadpan, and often very funny . . . [Yun Ko–eun] masterfully weaves big–picture critiques of cultural appropriation and opportunism with the more delicate threads of human complexity."
—CJ Green, Zyzzyva

"Lays bare the inherent inauthenticity of the tourist experience—especially those that purport to be beneficial, even humanitarian, for the local community—and does so in a way that will make you creepily uncomfortable about all your past travel adventures."
—Siel Ju, Los Angeles Review of Books

"South Korean author Yun’s spare but provocative novel offers perceptive satire laced with disconcerting imagery . . . Yun cleverly combines absurdity with legitimate horror and mounting dread. With its arresting, nightmarish island scenario, this work speaks volumes about the human cost of tourism in developing countries."
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Book Description

Publicity Plans:
  • Target major literary publications and online culture outlets (The Paris Review, Bookforum, NYRB, NYTBR, Conde Nast Traveler, etc)
  • Outreach to outlets that cover translation (Words Without Borders, World Literature Today, Asymptote―which Lizzie, the translator, has written for, etc), reviewers interested in translation (Nathan McNamara, Lily Meyer, etc), and build on our relationships from PARADE, LONESOME BODYBUILDER, etc.
  • Targeted outreach to outlets concerned with climate change/the environment (National Geographic, California Sunday, Outside, Nature, Discover Magazine, Earth Island Journal, Sierra Magazine, etc.)
  • Target Lilit Marcus for a piece for CNN Travel, Charles Montgomery for LARB, Ed Park for New Yorker, Patrick J. Kiger for LA Times
  • Aim for a profile in Korea Herald
  • Targeted outreach for summer reading roundups for prominent coverage in August (especially with that cover)
  • Pitch fans/reviewers of books such as Severance, Oval and The Need
  • Target women’s magazines and online outlets
  • Place original essay by translator (if interested) on disaster tourism/research for this project in a publication like Paris Review

    Marketing:
  • Nominated for Indies Introduce Fall 2020
  • DRC on NetGalley and Edelweiss
  • Indie Next Campaign
  • Early bookseller blurbs for ARCs
  • Outreach to bookseller fans of Korean literature in translation, fans of Oval and The Lonesome Bodybuilder, Soft Skull books, Severance, Elif Batuman, and Otessa Moshfegh
  • ARCs at PLA, FYE, for sale at AWP
  • LibraryReads outreach
  • DRC on NetGalley and Edelweiss
  • Goodreads giveaways: 2x ARC giveaways ~5mos ahead of pub date, 1x finished copy giveaway
  • AMS campaign beginning on OSD
  • Newsletter marketing: Consumer-facing newsletter month of pub, Bookseller-facing and Librarian-facing newsletter 4 months prepub
  • GalleyMatch promotions ahead of OSD
  • Marketing contacts ARC mailing (including Amazon and Goodreads editorial, First Edition indie store book clubs, regional association directors, Hudson key buyers, etc)
  • FYE display
  • Display at ALTA
  • Exam copy mailing to professors teaching Korean literature in translation, to English professors teaching climate fiction, Ecocriticism, satire

    Tour Schedule:
  • 5/19/20 6:00pmEST: Virtual Live webcast event, with Professor Jae Won Edward Chung, at Reading in Translation: Korean Novels in the U.S. at The Korea Society
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Counterpoint (August 4, 2020)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 208 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1640094164
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1640094161
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 8 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.4 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    3.8 out of 5 stars 300 ratings

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Customer reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5
300 global ratings

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gerardpeter
3.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to Dystopia
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on October 9, 2020
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GB
2.0 out of 5 stars Just a bit boring
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Aztec
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
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Clare Vancouver
3.0 out of 5 stars Enticing premise
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