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Untold Night and Day

By Bae Suah
Untold Night and Day by Bae Suah digital book - Fable

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Publisher Description

The acclaimed Korean author weaves a “disturbing, beautifully controlled” metaphysical detective story “of doubles, shadows, and parallel worlds” (Financial Times).

It’s Ayami’s final day working the box-office at Seoul’s only audio theater for the blind. Her last shift completed, she walks the streets with her former boss, searching for a missing friend. 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. But as they contend with the summer heat, 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 narrative storytelling. 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.

9 Reviews


“Meg finally reads her Big 4: Part 1 There are four books I’ve been wanting to read for a very long time. They are as follows: Untold Night and Day by Bae Suah, Tokyo Ueno Station by Yu Miri, Yumé by Sifton Tracey Anipare, and The Iliac Crest by Cristina Rivera Garza. Now that I have all four, I will be reading most of them during the month of May, my birthday month. Have you ever been so hot that your perception of reality completely dissipates? So sticky with sweat that your brain disappears into a fog? Your thoughts become so tangled, and the heat sucks all of your energy away, that you feel as if you’re in a fever dream? Untold Night and Day is the perfect encapsulation of this feeling. It’s so hot in Seoul that reality blends with unreality, past and present and future are one, and characters seem to switch roles in the mind of Ayami, our protagonist. Bae Suah does a really excellent job with language in this story. The repetition of phrases and word sounds applied to different characters throughout emphasizes the confusion. I think this is extremely well written and I can’t articulate exactly how good it is. 5 stars.”
“Very confusing yet magical somewhat? It was over just like that... too much in depth meanings, I guess. Yet it was a very enjoyable reading experience”
“I’m in complete awe.”
“I’m in complete awe.”
“J’ai vraiment aimé le travail sur la forme onirique de ce roman, où les personnages et leurs histoires se mélangent, se répètent jusqu’à former des motifs intriqués. Les détails se mélangent et se confondent comme au moment où on commence à s’endormir, pour laisser au final un souvenir flou, atmosphérique.”

About Bae Suah

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, Bae 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.

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