Same Bed Different Dreams, by Ed Park
Published by Random House, 2023
A wild, sweeping novel that imagines an alternate secret history of Korea and the traces it leaves on the present—loaded with assassins and mad poets, RPGs and slasher films, pop bands and the perils of social media
“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 • A WASHINGTON POST AND KIRKUS REVIEWS BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
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.