‘The Disaster Tourist’ by Yun Ko-Eun: Craving Catastrophe

by CJ Green

Halfway through Yun Ko-Eun’s The Disaster Tourist (197 pages; Counterpoint Press; translated by Lizzie Buehler), the protagonist, Yona Ko, crumples up an itinerary. “I’ll decide where we go,” she says, and climbs onto a motorcycle and speeds away. It’s a representative moment for the overall novel, which is about power, who has it, and at what cost. When we first meet Yona, she possesses an equable composure. At work, she scans headlines, searching emotionlessly for the latest catastrophe: tsunamis, massacres, earthquakes, wars. To these scarred landscapes, Yona designs travel packages for morbidly curious tourists clamoring for a firsthand look at […]

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