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Dance Dance Revolution

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Dance Dance Revolution (2007) is a book of poems by the Korean- American author Cathy Park Hong. The poems are transcriptions of interviews conducted by the narrator, only referred to as the Historian, of her tour guide in the fictional city called, the Desert. In the year 2016, when the Historian visits the Guide, the Desert is a place of constant movement; with people from all over the world flowing in and out of the Desert every second of the day, its language consists of words from over 300 different languages and dialects with nothing ever at rest. As a result, the Guide's speech is full of words from different languages, mostly, English (slang), Korean, Spanish, and Latin. The Guide helps the Historian travel through the streets and the hotel in the Desert, all the while voicing her somewhat blunt and bitter opinions on the city. However, as they wander around, the Guide begins to digress from the topic of the Desert to her own childhood in South Korea. Much of the Guide’s experiences refer back to the Gwangju Democratization Movement, a violent uprising May 1980 in Gwangju, South Korea against the president Chun Doo Hwan, and life after the movement. Readers find out that the Guide was a South Korean dissident and together with her lover, Sah, aided the uprising. Between sections of the poems, the narrator also inserts excerpts from her imaginary memoir, which mostly discuss her childhood with her father. These excerpts are in Standard English and provide relief from the complicated language of the Guide. The fragments of her history that she includes usually parallel the stages of the Guide’s history, making the book feel more like one whole story, instead of two stories about two different characters.
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