Disappear Doppelganger Disappear: A Novel

Disappear Doppelganger Disappear: A Novel

by Matthew Salesses


View All Available Formats & Editions
Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details


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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

The use of surrealism to interrogate the erasure of Asian American bodies and the trauma of being disappeared by whiteness is heightened by angled takes on recent history…Salesses’s tale on the nature of existence triumphs with literary trickery.” Publishers Weekly

Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear by Matthew Salesses: A hotly anticipated new novel from the author of The Hundred-Year Flood. Protagonist Matt Kim is having a hard time in every aspect of his life when he hears that somewhere out in the world people have been crossing paths with a better version of him, one who excels on all fronts only to eventually go missing.” The Millions

“Throughout the journey, Salesses challenges and dismantles the model minority myth using the concepts of doubling, disappearance, visibility, and erasure, all with funny and energetic prose (and puns). In this way, Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear points to the intentional and harmful silences lurking in our society” TriQuarterly

“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

“Matthew Salesses’s previous books orbit an incredibly delicate balance of compassion and depression, the surreal and the fantastical, creating this unique blend of literary fiction that feels like it came from some otherworldly source…A novel that is equally funny as it is sad, it’s a must-read.” Thrillist

“Author Matt Salesses has written a clever story that doesn’t give the reader any straight answers…The novel is original; creative, darkly humorous, with dialogue that discusses personal existence and identity, and the individual’s roles and responsibilities in society. A Korean adoptee, 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…Salesses deftly juggles the absurd with the serious throughout this novel.” Korean Quarterly

“Similar to the fluid sense of reality in Chang-rae Lee’s earlier work Native Speaker, Salesses shows his skill in manipulation of the narrator in this story where an alternative reality is just a step away from humdrum day-to-day reality. In his choice of themes, Salesses also shows his sensitivity to the pulse of Asian American culture. As in Native Speaker, Salesses depicts an world where the character is completely familiar with, yet unable to completely accept, the mainstream experiences of his daily life. He exercises these views through Matt Kim in a series of surreal events that makes for engaging reading.” Korean Quarterly

“With his latest novel, Matthew Salesses has written an impressive addition to the doppelgänger canon. What happens when you find your double out and about? What happens when your double seems to be a better version of you? Salesses ventures into haunting territory in this novel, from its premise to its setting.” Vol. 1 Brooklyn

“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

“Matthew’s new novel, Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear, is darkly funny, unsettling in the best way, and wholly original, the story of a Korean American man struggling simply to exist as he feels himself literally disappearing.” Keep the Channel Open

Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear tackles the construction of racial identity and related political maelstroms with ease, humor, and genuine grace. Science fiction in its exploits and shifts in time, the novel is a complex story that tickles with its cracks in the walls and mysterious layers. Salesses has created something admirable, witty, and profound, which will certainly enter the canon of books rooting out discrimination and oppression. He’s written a novel of doppelgängers that begins forging its own double, a book that attempts to confront the vast problems of racial inequality both in its plot and in its meta-structure, asking if there might be a parallel world for our own, one where these injustices could be corrected—or wondering if that, too, is pure fantasy.” Ploughshares

Publishers Weekly


An alcoholic, depressed Korean American man is convinced he is disappearing as a KKK-endorsed candidate runs for president in the captivating latest from Salesses (The Hundred-Year Flood). Three years after Matt Kim’s wife and daughter left him and he’s unable to sell his novel, Matt struggles to hold onto his sense of self. He explains to his girlfriend, Yumi, that as an Asian man he feels invisible in public. At the butcher shop, he’s ignored by the man at the counter. In a row of empty urinals, men stand right next to him. Worse than feeling invisible, he fears two white “dudebros” in red hats are following him. Asked if they see him, they respond by calling him “Charlie Chan.” Then, after getting drunk, Yumi introduces herself as Sandra and shows Matt a photo of herself with her boyfriend, Matt Chung, whom she says disappeared. “The boyfriend in the photo was me,” Matt realizes, and proceeds to investigate Chung’s disappearance, while the KKK-backed candidate paves the way to victory with racist statements. The use of surrealism to interrogate the erasure of Asian American bodies and the trauma of being disappeared by whiteness is heightened by angled takes on recent history (the red hats worn by the men following Matt say “something about this country we all lived in, that it wasn’t great anymore”). Salesses’s tale on the nature of existence triumphs with literary trickery. Agent: Ayesha Pande, Pande Literary. (Aug.)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781503943254
Publisher: Amazon Publishing
Publication date: 08/11/2020
Pages: 316
Sales rank: 656,326
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)

Customer Reviews