A seductive, disorienting story about multiple identities – unfolding over a day and a night in the sweltering heat of Seoul's summer – for readers of Han Kang's THE VEGETARIAN and Samanta Schweblin's FEVER DREAM
A hypnotic, disorienting story of parallel lives unfolding over a day and a night in the sweltering heat of Seoul's summer
For two years, twenty-eight-year-old Kim Ayami has worked at Seoul's only audio theatre for the blind. But now the theatre is shutting down and Ayami’s future is uncertain.
Her last shift completed and the theatre closed for good, Ayami walks the streets of the city with her former boss late into the night. Together they search for a mutual friend who has disappeared. The following day, at the request of that same friend, Ayami acts as a guide for a detective novelist visiting from abroad.
But in the inescapable, all-consuming heat of Seoul at the height of the summer, order gives way to chaos, the edges of reality start to fray, and the past intrudes on the present in increasingly disruptive ways.
Blisteringly original, Untold Night and Day is a high-wire feat of storytelling that explores the possibility of worlds beyond the one we see and feel – and shows why Bae Suah is considered one of the boldest voices in Korean literature today.
“Hypnotic… an uncannily affecting and dreamlike story of parallel lives and worlds.”
“A metaphysical detective story, Untold Night and Day ... draws on ideas from Korean shamanism ... to venture in style and ambition far from the conventions of mystery narratives... Storylines echo one another and are braided into multilayered fictional universe with extraordinary skill… Bae’s novel complicates the boundaries between self and other reality and make-believe, night and day.”
Sarah Shin, Observer
“Bae Suah’s disturbing, beautifully controlled novel Untold Night and Day is a book of doubles, shadows and parallel worlds... a slim yet labyrinthine twist on a “choose your own adventure” story that disarms even as it disorients.”
Catherine Taylor, Financial Times
“As cryptic and compelling as a fever dream, Untold Night and Day is a vivid and disorienting exploration of identity, artifice and compulsion ... Bae Suah is one of the most unique and adroit literary voices working today.”
“Bae Suah is one of Korea’s most radical contemporary writers… Untold Night and Day is a hallucinatory novel propelled by the logic of dreams… Bae masterfully layers [her] themes into an almost hidden code beneath the novel’s meditative surface.”
Jay G Ying, Guardian
“I loved this book. I loved its uncanny beauty, its startling occurrences. As it unravels you feel, if only a little, yourself unraveling too. A Lynchian triumph.”
“Haunting and poetic, Untold Night and Day holds the reader in a suspended state, allowing us to explore the tension of the threshold. A strange and beautiful novel, wonderfully translated by Deborah Smith.”
“Unconventional and original… [Untold Night and Day is] a Seoul fairytale where the unexpected should always be expected.”
Kerry Hudson, Big Issue
“A surreal, disorienting and highly original novel, full of unsolved mysteries, repeated motifs and startling prose.”
Luiza Sauma, Daily Telegraph