The Invisible Hotel

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Pub Date 05 Mar 2024 | Archive Date Not set

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A startling work of literary horror about a young woman whose frightening dreams recall the long afterlife of a country’s shared trauma.

Yewon dreams of a hotel. In the hotel, there are infinite keys to infinite rooms—and a quiet terror she is desperate to escape. When Yewon wakes, she sees her life: a young woman, out of her job at a convenience store, trapped in the tiny South Korean village of her birth, watching her mother wash the bones of their ancestors in their decrepit bathtub. Every house has them, these rotting and fragmented bones, reminders of what they have all lost to a war that never seems to end. Yewon and her siblings were born in this bathtub—and every year women give birth to new babies in the bathtub.  

Now, Yewon’s brother is stationed near the North Korean border, her sister has just undergone a life-changing tragedy, and her mother is constantly worried, her health declining. In crisis and in stasis, Yewon’s dreams of the decrepit hotel lead her to an unsettling truth about her country’s collective heritage.

A work of literary horror in the gothic tradition, The Invisible Hotel is a startling, speculative tale of political and ideological adolescence in the long afterlife of the Korean War. Recalling international trailblazers like Han Kang’s The Vegetarian and Yoko Ogawa’s The Memory Police, The Invisible Hotel marks the arrival of a singular new voice with a sharp social acumen.

A startling work of literary horror about a young woman whose frightening dreams recall the long afterlife of a country’s shared trauma.

Yewon dreams of a hotel. In the hotel, there are infinite keys...

Marketing Plan

Trade Outreach

  • Early ARC mailing to Yeji's contacts in the literary community, authors critics and reviewers
  • Netgalley and Edelweiss promotion
  • Submission to trade publications (Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal, Kirkus, and Shelf Awareness) for pre-pub reviews
  • Early reads campaign, including a premium Goodreads galley giveaway and a galley mailing to book influencers with editor letter
  • Explore regional advertising to reach booksellers who loved Monstrilio and comp titles

Media Strategy

  • Most anticipated and seasonal previews: pitch to outlets that publish most anticipated books of the year and summer reading round-ups, including Vulture, Esquire, Vogue, Elle, Lit Hub, TIME, The Millions, Goodreads, Oprah Daily, People, and Entertainment Weekly
  • Review coverage at literary, horror, Asian, general interest publications including ??Electric Literature, Lit Hub, Vulture, Interview Magazine, BOMB, New Yorker, Esquire, Bookforum, and NYTBR
  • Pitch interview with a high-profile author such as Alex Chee or Carmen Maria Machado in literary publication with an artistic bent like BOMB or Interview Magazine
  • Podcast and radio interviews including NPR's Code Switch, Weekend Edition, Get Booked, Debutiful, Book Riot, Spooked, and Books in the Freezer

Consumer Marketing

  • Partner with surreal horror clubs or groups on Reddit, Discord, and Letterboxd through giveaways or author features
  • BookTok campaign, partnering with select creators on paid posts as well as wide influencer mailing with curated gift box
  • Organic social media posts with creative content on Zando channels, including evocative imagery of the hotel and world of the book (Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and more)
  • Outreach to Korean and Korean American organizations, book clubs, and influential people
  • Consumer email blast to Zando's list of subscribers, re-targeting those who opened our Monstrilio emails


  • Instagram paid advertising
  • TikTok paid advertising
  • Bookshop campaign


  • Select indie bookstore events, pitch to festivals
  • Virtual events with high-profile authors

Trade Outreach

  • Early ARC mailing to Yeji's contacts in the literary community, authors critics and reviewers
  • Netgalley and Edelweiss promotion
  • Submission to trade publications (Publishers Weekly...

Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781638931379
PRICE $28.00 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

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Send to Kindle (PDF)
Download (PDF)

Average rating from 46 members

Featured Reviews

In one word - HAUNTING.

There is a fog like feel to this novel. I instantly felt a chill, mystery, something deeply and heavily unknown. You float along with the words so peacefully placed and to a patient rhythm. A mother, her daughters and son.

We follow them day to day and the matter of fact tone reminds us that we all have secrets, weights in our lives that can often feel like burdens.

What unravels is a cryptic history and a story of neverending healing.

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*I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks for the free book.*

"The Invisible Hotel" is about a traumatised young Korean woman living with her mother. Her father has recently died which has disrupted her plans and life. Politically, the situation with North Korea is frail too, people are prepping for a war. The protagonists brother is in the army and close to the border. Then our protagonist meets an elderly North Korean refugee whom she drives to the prison outside the city where a long lost relative of hers can be found.

So far, this sounds quite ordinary. But this book is very surreal, Gothic horror-ish, existential. The protagonist dreams about a hotel with many rooms and keys. A place which allows one to escape. The trauma of herself is mingled with intergenerational trauma, the last war, history creeping up on you. Her mother washes the bones of her ancestor in a bathtub, she dreams that her bones will join them too. She spirals, barely eats, hallucinates or is she?

What a wild, dark book that kept me going even though I was quite confused. I also learned a lot!

4 stars

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Wonderful ideas, interesting stories. They were so thought-provoking and original. The writing was so sleek and readable too. I can only recommend this.

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Yeji Y. Ham deals with some deeply intriguing topics in an exceptionally delicate manner. Her writing really pulled me into this world of bathtubs filled with bones and a country grappling with generational trauma and grief. The transitions between the Hotel and reality were extremely smooth and created the most eerie feeling. I could relate to the family dynamics and it felt all too real to see them drift alart and suffer in their own ways while not being able to let go completely.
The experience of the Hotel was a little too out there for me and I couldn’t quite follow along. Some parts often felt unfinished and left in a limbo.

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I'm not sure why people are saying this book wasn't horror—women giving birth on the fetid bones of their ancestors so they can never forget the agony and intergenerational trauma of war is a deeply grotesque image and is the heart of the novel. The slippages between the dreamworld of the hotel and the narrator's real-life are really brilliantly done and create an otherworldly and out-of-time sensation. To say the ending was a gut punch is understating it, devastating.

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I don't always like such a slow burn but this is an exception for me. I felt like I was getting a little more broken, bit by bit, as I meandered through this story and all the memories of the characters and of the country itself. It wouldn't have held my interest so well without the mystery behind the events, but it actually seemed realistic using magical realism to show how generational trauma can affect a nation. The descriptions of Korea were also really interesting.
Thanks to NetGalley for letting me read this

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I enjoyed the mix of grief, magical realism, and horror in this novel. It was incredibly unique and rife with compelling metaphors. I also learned a lot about Korean culture and the long-lasting impacts of generational trauma. However, I struggled to follow the story at times and wished it was slightly shorter, as I felt it dragged on a bit.

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(Round off rating at 4.5) The Invisible Hotel is a horror book like any other. The premise is refreshing, the way it is written is unique and the plot itself is gripping. I loved the subtlety of it all. It gives off a claustrophobic feel, a dread that intensifies with every passing second.

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SUCH an unexpected new horror novel. I feel like I'm always looking for something new, unique, and special and I really feel like that's what The Invisible Hotel is. It really brings in cultural struggles and forces the reader to confront some uncomfortable topics. It is a bit confusing in places, but I think worth it overall.

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You don’t know how much I wanted to give this a 5. I wanted to give it a 5 so much istg. But… it was long. It wasn’t long in terms of number of pages in a vacuum, but it stretched for longer than it’s welcome by quite a bit. Thanks for the arc.

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Yewon lives in a village with her mother and siblings but longs for the bright lights of the city, particularly Seoul. Life at home seems to be deeply troubled, with her mother retaining the bones of various ancestors in the bathtub.

Yewon is asked to drive an elderly North Korean refugee, Ms San, to visit her son, who is in prison. This is disturbing for Yewon, as she knows that most people there are half starved and have no real freedoms. This reality is contrasted well with the dizzy consumerism of city inhabitants, experienced too by Yewon, as she comes to stay erith her cousin in the big city.

In the meantime,, Yewon is preoccupied with visions, or nightmares, of a mysterious hotel.

Working part time in a museum, Yewon comes to learn more about how the horrific consequences of the war between the two Koreas continues to haunt its people. She has to find the key to both present and past for her family to move on, if she can.

The plot is a little confusing to follow át times

This novel is both atmospheric and disturbing, and certainly holds up a mirror to how much loss and tragedy have shaped the psyche of many in South Korea. And after 75 years, that war is far from. over..

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The Invisible Hotel was unexpectedly brilliant! An amazing exploration of intergenerational and cultural trauma. As some other reviews have pointed out, it could have been slightly shorter. I can't wait to see what comes next from Ham, definitely one to watch.

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Thank you NetGalley for a free e-galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Yeji Y. Ham's "The Invisible Hotel" is a mesmerizing and haunting addition to the genre of literary horror. It's a novel that weaves the supernatural with the all-too-real horrors of war, memory, and the burden of history. The story of Yewon, a young woman entangled in a web of surreal dreams and the stark realities of life in a South Korean village, is both harrowing and deeply moving. Ham masterfully crafts a narrative that is as much about the individual's struggle as it is a reflection on a nation's collective trauma.

The novel's setting—a hotel with infinite rooms and keys, symbolizing the unending maze of history and memory—is brilliantly conceptualized. Ham's writing is atmospheric and evocative, creating a sense of unease and intrigue that compels the reader to delve deeper into Yewon's world. The imagery of the decrepit bathtub and the ancestral bones is striking, serving as a powerful metaphor for the weight of history and the scars of a war that lingers in the collective consciousness of the characters.

Ham's exploration of themes such as familial bonds, cultural heritage, and the haunting presence of past conflicts is done with both subtlety and depth. The portrayal of Yewon's family, each member grappling with their own ghosts and struggles, adds layers of complexity to the narrative. This is not just a story of individual horror, but a poignant commentary on the societal and psychological impacts of war and division.

"The Invisible Hotel" stands out for its unique blend of gothic horror and political allegory. It is reminiscent of Han Kang's "The Vegetarian" and Yoko Ogawa's "The Memory Police" in its ability to balance the surreal with the profoundly real, the personal with the political. This book is a must-read for those who appreciate literary horror that not only scares but also provokes thought and empathy. Yeji Y. Ham has created a work that is haunting in its imagery and profound in its exploration of human and national psyche, making "The Invisible Hotel" a remarkable and unforgettable read.

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I don't know much South Korea so I found this to be a bit educational. I definitely think it could have been shorter, but it was still a heartbreaking portrait of how a country might cope with tragedy, and a young woman's struggle with finding her place in it all. It is certainly a unique addition to the gothic/horror genre

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One of my favorite books this year. While very disturbing at times, it was so well written and will stay with me for days..look forward to seeing more by this author.

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I absolutely loved reading this book. I was completely drawn into the topic and could not stop reading it.

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This book had me hooked from page one, and I didn't want to stop reading. The writing is very atmospheric and beautiful, and the way the "horror elements" connected everything was really nicely done. I really liked the exploration of family, grief and generational trauma, and how, for Yewon, the town she was born in was a sort of symbol of all this. She wants to get away from Dalbit, but she realizes that there are certain things you cannot escape just by physically moving away from them. It was interesting to see how shared trauma can both pull people apart, but also connect them. I definitely preferred reading the parts that took place in Dalbit, but it made sense for the story to take place in more than one location.
I don't really have any notes atm. I just enjoyed this

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