The Disaster Tourist

Yun Ko-eun, Lizzie Buehler

fiction literary
mysterious reflective medium-paced

208 pages | first published 2020

An eco-thriller with a fierce feminist sensibility, The Disaster Tourist engages with the global dialog around climate activism, dark tourism, and the #MeToo movement.

For ten years, Yona has been stuck behind a desk as a coordinator for Jungle, a travel company specializing in vacation packages to destinations devastated by disaster and climate change. Her work life is uneventful until trouble arises in the form of a predatory colleague.

To forestall any disruption of business-as-usual, Jungle makes Yona a proposition: a paid "vacation" to the desert island of Mui. But Yona must pose as a tourist and assess whether Jungle should continue their partnership with the unprofitable destination.

Yona travels to the remote island, whose major attraction is an underwhelming sinkhole, a huge disappointment to the customers who've paid a premium. Soon Yona discovers the resort's plan to fabricate a catastrophe in the interest of regaining their good standing with Jungle--and the manager enlists Yona's help. Yona must choose between the callous company to whom she's dedicated her life, or the possibility of a fresh start in a powerful new position. As she begins to understand the cost of the manufactured disaster, Yona realizes that the lives of Mui's citizens are in danger--and so is she.

In The Disaster Tourist, Korean author Yun Ko-eun grapples with the consequences of our fascination with disaster, and questions an individual's culpability in the harm done by their industry.

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dark 66%
mysterious 51%
reflective 51%
challenging 30%
sad 30%
tense 30%
adventurous 28%
emotional 20%
funny 15%
informative 7%
relaxing 2%


medium 77%
fast 12%
slow 10%

Plot- or character-driven?

A mix: 50% | Plot: 50%

Strong character development?

No: 41% | It's complicated: 35% | Yes: 19% | N/A: 3%

Loveable characters?

No: 53% | It's complicated: 37% | Yes: 9%

Diverse cast of characters?

Yes: 66% | It's complicated: 18% | No: 12% | N/A: 3%

Flaws of characters a main focus?

Yes: 67% | It's complicated: 16% | No: 16%

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