PositiveLos Angeles Review of BooksAll the upheavals of 2020 perhaps make now the perfect time to read Yun Ko-eun’s latest novel, The Disaster Tourist ... The Disaster Tourist, translated by Lizzie Buehler, lays bare the inherent inauthenticity of the tourist experience — especially those that purport to be beneficial, even humanitarian, for the local community — and does so in a way that will make you creepily uncomfortable about all your past travel adventures.
PositiveLos Angeles Review of BooksWhen should one push herself for once, and when learn to take it easy already? Anelise Chen’s semi-autobiographical debut novel, So Many Olympic Exertions, takes on these questions with sly aplomb through a cheeky hybrid form ... the novel is also a philosophical text, as well as a meta-self-help book ... In addition to pop psych mantras and high-minded philosophical texts, major moments in sports history are painstakingly dissected and examined as part of Athena’s dissertation-writing labors. This is an effort to get to some bigger truth about what it means to succeed as a human, and gives rise to the most thought-provoking passages ... So Many Olympic Exertions manages to be a very funny book, because there’s so much incisive humor in the novel’s observations.
Lindsey Lee Johnson
MixedThe Los Angeles Review of Books...a novel that feels episodic in structure, in the manner of TV shows like Gossip Girl or The O.C., which feature privileged, discontented teenagers going through glamorous, larger-than-life problems. Like these TV shows, The Most Dangerous Place on Earth is high on melodrama and full of car accidents, drug abuse, and illicit sex ... Johnson makes a valiant effort to draw out the reader’s empathy for each of these characters...At times, though, the archetypes often feel so familiar that they fall into stereotypes ... Still, there are moments to admire in Johnson’s depictions of these students’ minds ... Because each student only gets one chapter, there’s limited room for background and buildup behind these dramatic endings ... Johnson’s novel portrays the self-involved world of teenagers very well, revealing just how buffered the wealthy are from the consequences of the mistakes they make.