Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Recently, I feel compelled to read, write and think about North Korea. I'm not quite sure why. I suspect it is something to do with it being the antithesis of everything we know of our cosy liberal world. The rule of law, the rights of man, democracy and even religion, are mocked, distorted and abused in the warped mirror of the Kim family fiefdom. And we're practically neighbours. Anyway, after tweeting about the excellent Sophie Smith goes to Pyongyang article doing the rounds on Twitter, a chance recommendation from a trusted follower led me to this witty graphic novel memoir of a couple of months spent in Pyongyang by a Western animator a couple of years ago.
It's by no means a definitive description of North Korea's horrors, but I can't think of a better way to introduce the embodiment of George Orwell's 1984 nightmare than through the stark, sometimes absurd, black and white sketches that illuminate one man's point of view. Is the author qualified to report on the country? I don't know. All I can say is I couldn't put the book down this morning at breakfast. And two hours later, when I'd finished it, I felt exhausted but relieved to be alive, so grateful to live here and not there, and so sorry for the people of North Korea who must live in this nightmare believing it to be a dream.
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BREAKING... for a more considered and critical review of the book, try here.