Untold Night and Day is a seductive, disorienting novel that manipulates the fragile line between dreams and reality, unfolding over a day and a night in the sweltering heat of Seoul’s summer, by Bae Suah—South Korea’s leading contemporary writer.
It’s 28-year-old Ayami’s final day at her box-office job in Seoul’s only audio theater for the blind. The theater is shutting down and Ayami’s future is uncertain. Her last shift completed, Ayami walks the streets of the city with her former boss late into the night, searching for a mutual friend who is missing. Their conversations take in art, love, food, and the inaccessible country to the north.
The next day, Ayami acts as a guide for a detective novelist visiting from abroad. Almost immediately, in the heat of Seoul at the height of the summer, order gives way to chaos as the edges of reality start to fray. Ayami enters a world of increasingly tangled threads, and the past intrudes upon the present as overlapping realities repeat, collide, change, and reassert themselves.
Blisteringly original, Untold Night and Day upends the very structure of fiction and narrative storytelling and burns itself upon the soul of the reader. By one of the boldest and most innovative voices in contemporary Korean literature, and masterfully realized in English by Man Booker International Prize–winning translator Deborah Smith, Bae Suah’s hypnotic novel asks whether more than one version of ourselves can exist at once, demonstrating the malleable nature of reality as we know it.
About the Author
Bae Suah is one of the most acclaimed contemporary Korean authors and an award-winning writer and translator. Her translations from the German include works by W. G. Sebald, Franz Kafka, and Jenny Erpenbeck. The author of more than a dozen novels and collections of short stories, Suah was longlisted for the PEN Translation Prize and the Best Translated Book Award for her first book in English, Nowhere to Be Found. Deborah Smith was born and grew up in South Yorkshire, UK. She studied English and then Korean literature in the UK and has translated several books by Bae Suah and Han Kang. She publishes Asian literatures in translation through Tilted Axis Press.
“a haunting and dreamlike wander through the intricacies of Korean society”—The Guardian
“surreal, disorientating and highly original novel, full of unsolved mysteries…and startling prose” —The Telegraph
“Untold Night and Day conjures a cityscape – and a state of mind – both viscerally immediate and utterly otherworldly”—Korean Literature Now
“a fever dream of a novel; a book that is unknowably yet aggressively familiar to all of us”—Books & Bao
“intriguing…provocatively demanding… a scathing, labyrinthine examination of the disconnects of contemporary society”—Shelf Awareness