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.

What the community thinks

summary of 110 ratings (see reviews)

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Moods

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

Pace

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%

Average rating

3.56