Same Bed Different Dreams
by Ed Park
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Pub Date 07 Nov 2023 | Archive Date 29 Feb 2024
Random House Publishing Group - Random House, Random House
“Your view of twentieth-century history will be enlarged and altered. . . . A Gravity’s Rainbow for another war, an unfinished war.” —Jonathan Lethem, author of The Fortress of Solitude
ONE OF PUBLISHERS WEEKLY’S TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR • FINALIST FOR THE LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE
A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Public Library, Polygon, Kirkus Reviews
In 1919, far-flung patriots establish the Korean Provisional Government to protest the Japanese occupation of their country. This government-in-exile proves mostly symbolic, though, and after Japan’s defeat in World War II, the KPG dissolves and civil war erupts, resulting in the tragic North-South split that remains today.
But what if the KPG still existed—now working toward a unified Korea, secretly pulling levers to further its aims? Same Bed Different Dreams weaves together three distinct narrative voices with an archive of mysterious images, and twists reality like a kaleidoscope. Korean history, American pop culture, and our tech-fraught lives come together in this extraordinary and unforgettable novel.
Soon Sheen, a former writer now employed by the tech behemoth GLOAT, comes into possession of an unfinished book seemingly authored by the KPG. The manuscript is a riveting revisionist history, connecting famous names and obscure bit players to the KPG’s grand project—everyone from Syngman Rhee and architect-poet Yi Sang to Jack London and Marilyn Monroe. M*A*S*H is in here, too, as are the Moonies and a history of violence extending from the assassination of President McKinley to the Reagan-era downing of a passenger plane that puts the world on the brink of war.
From the acclaimed author of Personal Days, Same Bed Different Dreams is a raucously funny feat of imagination and a thrilling meld of history and fiction that pulls readers into another dimension—one in which utopia is possible.
“It’s an encyclopedic yarn about Korea’s tragic and difficult 20th century, but also a compassionate study of how much we inherit culturally from the past, and how we’re connected to it more deeply than we’re inclined to think. And for all its Pynchonian gamesmanship, it’s simply fun, rife with detours on parenthood, literature, hockey, and spycraft. Even in moments when it’s not entirely clear where the story’s going, Park is a savvy and entertaining guide. A brash, rangy, sui generis feat of speculative fiction.” —Kirkus, Starred Review
”A deeply original work from a brilliant and assured voice, Same Bed Different Dreams is a novel to get lost in, a novel of discoveries, a synthesis of history and speculation, a feat of imagination. I read it with awe and admiration for its construction, and for the sheer pleasure of its language.”
— Charles Yu, National Book Award-winning author of Interior Chinatown
"I could not stop reading, thinking, and dreaming about Same Bed Different Dreams...A feverish, mind-altering marvel of a book."
— Hua Hsu, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Stay True
“Your view of 20th century history will be enlarged and altered by Ed Park’s mysterious and panoramic novel. Same Bed Different Dreams seems to draw on Bolaño and Pynchon and Helen DeWitt for its radical, centrifugal structure and style, yet remains grounded in a droll sweet voice we’ve wished to hear again ever since Personal Days. This is a Gravity’s Rainbow for another war, an unfinished war. Having been enlisted in the Korean Provisional Government, I now await my instructions.”
— Jonathan Lethem, New York Times bestselling author of The Fortress of Solitude
“Totally astounding. Same Bed Different Dreams emits a prismatic intelligence operating on multiple frequencies. It's funny, melancholic, and strange. I didn't know I'd been waiting for a book like this until I encountered it.”
— Ling Ma, author of Severance and Bliss Montage
"No blurb could adequately praise or even sum up this novel. All I know is that Same Bed Different Dreams belongs in the company of a rare few dark and comic masterpieces of invention. It disarmed me with sheer delight.”
—Elizabeth McKenzie, author of The Portable Veblen
“I can’t stop thinking about Ed Park’s genius novel. Same Bed Different Dreams is an extraordinary—and hilarious—genre-busting nesting doll of comedy, science fiction, thriller, and at core, an epic compendium of Korean history that’s also the dark history of American foreign entanglements. Park animates neglected archives with adrenaline-fueled plotlines and a poet’s compulsion for wordplay. Same Bed Different Dreams is like no other novel I’ve read before—a cabinet of wonders that demands to be read and reread.”
—Cathy Park Hong, author of Minor Feelings
"Imagine an enclosed cylinder at the base of which is a cell that contains filaments, fragments, and at the top of which is an aperture. You look inside and you see: History. Numerology. A flag. A gun. Dreams. Faith. Fingers. A diagonal of dots. UFOs. Puns. Race. A yin yang. A face. A folder icon. Nobody. A movie reel. Smoke. Love. Beauty. Resistance. The filaments shimmer. Now twist. Same Bed Different Dreams is a kaleidoscope of Koreamericana; a crowd of cracked voices; a gorgeous, hilarious, provisional dream; a wonder.”
— Namwali Serpell, author of The Furrows
“This is a book of dizzying scope and erudition, which wraps its arms around the last hundred-plus years of Korean and Korean American history. At the same time, it manages to be very funny, very intimate and playful, and interested in basic questions of existence, beginning with, ‘Why are we here and what gives us meaning?’ You will not find a more impossible-to-categorize book this year.”
— Dave Eggers, author of The Circle
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