The Disaster Tourist

The Disaster Tourist : Winner of the CWA Crime Fiction in Translation Dagger 2021

3.41 (2,651 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , Translated by 

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Yona has been stuck behind a desk for years working as a programming coordinator for Jungle, a travel company specialising in package holidays to destinations ravaged by disaster. When a senior colleague touches her inappropriately she tries to complain, and in an attempt to bury her allegations, the company make her an attractive proposition: a free ticket for one of their most sought-after trips, to the desert island of Mui.

She accepts the offer and travels to the remote island, where the major attraction is a supposedly-dramatic sinkhole. When the customers who've paid a premium for the trip begin to get frustrated, Yona realises that the company has dangerous plans to fabricate an environmental catastrophe to make the trip more interesting, but when she tries to raise the alarm, she discovers she has put her own life in danger.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 192 pages
  • 145 x 225 x 22mm | 320g
  • Serpent's Tail
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main
  • none
  • 1788163141
  • 9781788163149
  • 310,250

Review quote

An endlessly surprising and totally gripping read, The Disaster Tourist is as hilarious as it is heartbreaking. It questions every aspect of life we so often take for granted, smashing apart any easy distinctions between natural and artificial, normal and abnormal, peaceful and violent, personal and political. There could not be a more prescient moment for this too-real fiction about how we create our own disasters on every scale and what resilience might mean in the face of catastrophe. -- Elvia Wilk, author of Oval A fresh and sharp story about life under late capitalism ... an entertaining eco-thriller * Guardian * The forces pitched against Yona reveal their true scale and monstrosity in a frothy-seeming satire that, in the end, shreds the very idea of commerce to bleeding tatters. I'd say this was a perfect short novel for reading on the beach, but given what's in store . . . -- Simon Ings * The Times * Throughout The Disaster Tourist, there is a sense of impending catastrophe, of something huge and uncontrollable swallowing up those who spend their lives packaging, controlling and creating these macabre tours ... Phenomenal * Spectator * An exciting up-and-coming writer tackling gender ... these themes aren't unique to South Korea, but ones that resonate with women globally. -- Katie Goh * i-D * A gripping literary thriller about disaster, adventure, and a crisis of conscience that will resonate with any traveller. -- Jennifer Croft, author of Homesick and winner of the Man Booker International Prize for her translation of Olga Tokarczuk's Flights A labyrinth of catastrophes and cataclysms, The Disaster Tourist is a precisely penned novel that lays bare the human condition. Mysterious, evocative, and rich. -- Sarah Rose Etter, author of The Book of X A mordantly witty novel that touches on everything from the rise of "dark tourism" to sexual predators in the office to climate change ... a highly literary, ultra-incisive thriller * Refinery29 * Excellent ... a plain rendering of the extraordinary * The Irish Times * 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 * Bizarre but intriguing, The Disaster Tourist will make you feel content with the prospect of staycations for the forseeable * Manchester Evening News * A searing critique of capitalism, the impact of tourism on poor countries and our complicity in it. Gripping. * Writes of Womxn blog * One of the best new books of August 2020 * TIME Magazine * All the upheavals of 2020 perhaps make now the perfect time to read Yun Ko-eun's latest novel, The Disaster Tourist ... it brings too close to home the disasters that we like to believe are far away, separate from us. * LA Review of Books * Fascinating * SheerLuxe * An intriguing read about capitalism's ability to monetise everything including climate disasters ... challenges the reader to more robustly evaluate our curiosity about traumatised communities and landscapes that appear exciting for their unpredictability and history of ruin * Firstpost * Ultimate pandemic reading * South Coast Today * A dystopian novel that reads like, well, next year * InsideHook * A tale of human impact on nature, and the terror nature can inflict back ... A slim book, it packs a hell of a story into a small but thrilling package. * The Skinny * An extravagant, clever, unpredictable story that walks the razor edge of horror-comedy * White Review *
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About Yun Ko-Eun

Yun Ko-eun was born in Seoul in 1980. Her short story 'Piercing' won the Daesan Literary Award for College Students the year she graduated from university. She received the 2008 Hankyorek Literature Award for her novel The Zero G Syndrome and in 2015 her short story collection Aloha won the Kim Yong Ik Novel Prize.
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Rating details

2,651 ratings
3.41 out of 5 stars
5 11% (283)
4 35% (938)
3 40% (1,064)
2 12% (305)
1 2% (61)
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