From the bestselling author of The Hundred-Year Flood comes an incredibly entertaining and profoundly affecting tour de force about a Korean American man’s strange and ordinary attempts to exist.
Matt Kim is always tired. He keeps passing out. His cat is dead. His wife and daughter have left him. He’s estranged from his adoptive family. People bump into him on the street as if he isn’t there.
He is pretty sure he’s disappearing. His girlfriend, Yumi, is less convinced. But then she runs into someone who looks exactly like her, and her doppelgänger turns out to have dated someone who looks exactly like Matt. Except the other Matt was superior in every way. He was clever, successful, generous, and beloved—until one day he suddenly and completely vanished without warning. How can Matt Kim protect his existence when a better version of him wasn’t able to? Or is his worse life a reason for his survival?
Set in a troubling time in which a presidential candidate is endorsed by the KKK and white men in red hats stalk Harvard Square, Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear is a haunting and frighteningly funny novel about Asian American stereotypes, the desires that make us human, puns, and what happens to the self when you have to become someone else to be seen.
PEN/Faulkner Finalist, 2021
Dublin International Literary Award Longlist, 2022
The Best Books of 2020 (So Far) – Thrillist.com
15 Hot Books for Summer – Shondaland
Most Anticipated of 2020 – The Millions
Must-Reads of August – Salon
7 Great Novels by Korean American Authors – Thrift Books
“A remarkable, entertaining, disturbing achievement.” – Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Sympathizer
“Like everything Matthew Salesses writes, this book grabbed me on page one and didn’t let go.” – Nicole Chung, author of All You Can Ever Know
“A brilliant, existential detective story in which the mystery is the truth of oneself. Disturbing in the best way.” – Mat Johnson, author of Pym
“Inventive and profound, mordantly hilarious and wildly moving. Matthew Salesses is one of my all-time favorite writers, and this is his most thrilling book to date.” – Laura van den Berg, author of The Third Hotel
“An absolute masterpiece from a stunningly singular voice.” – Kirstin Chen, author of Bury What We Cannot Take
“This is a book of breathtaking depth and scope. A miraculous achievement.” – Catherine Chung, author of The Tenth Muse
“Salesses’s tale on the nature of existence triumphs with literary trickery.” – Publisher’s Weekly
“Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear tackles the construction of racial identity and related political maelstroms with ease, humor, and genuine grace.” – Ploughshares
“Original, creative, darkly humorous . . . Salesses has taken the idea of the Korean adoptee as a person from two places, with split nationality, identity, cultural background, and personality, and turned it upside-down.” – Korean Quarterly
“Both wildly funny and horrific in its observations, the novel is an unsettling examination about identity and one’s place in the world…Salesses…piles on the many ways that Asian Americans are marginalized and Othered, but infuses dark humor into every line as he embraces the absurdity of that imposed dichotomous existence…With sly references to presidential candidates endorsed by the KKK, men wearing red hats, and finding purpose through protest, Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear is a novel for our present moment in America, a moment that has been centuries in the making. It’s a story that asks what lengths one must go to in order to be seen.” – Hanh Nguyen, Salon
“If you’re looking for a story that’s as escapist as it is grounded in today’s world, this one’s for you…Salesses masterfully weaves a story that is at once unrealistic and all too real, exploring Asian stereotypes, white supremacist society, and the nature of self.” – Shondaland