Gonna put this on the ever-growing reading list. North Korean is so fascinating, but so fucked up for the regular people who live there. It’s 2012 and the population is overwhelmingly malnourished.
Mi-ran assumed that nowhere else in the world were people better off, and that most probably fared far worse. She heard many, many times on the radio and television that South Koreans were miserable under the thumb of the pro-American puppet leader Park Chung-hee and, later, his successor, Chun Doohwan. They learned that China’s diluted brand of communism was less successful than that brought by Kim Il-sung and that millions of Chinese were going hungry. All in all, Mi-ran felt she was quite lucky to have been born in North Korea under the loving care of the fatherly leader.
Nothing to Envy follows the lives of six North Korean defectors from their childhoods to their escapes. Through these stories readers learn what it was like to grown up in totalitarian North Korea, how the 1990s famine impacted the lives of ordinary North Koreans, and what it takes to escape.
North Korea is a single party state with very limited interaction with the rest of the world and one of the most militarized countries in the world. Nothing to Envy is worth reading for its look at a practically hidden population and an important political region. It is also worth reading if you’re a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction because sometimes fact is stranger than fiction.
Nothing to Envy on Amazon