This is an incredible work that was written from someone still living inside of North Korea. There are seven stories in this book, and they are all strong. They capture the insanity of living inside the kingdom of North Korea ruled by the hereditary dynasty.
You really are getting two books in one here: one is the story of how this manuscript was written, and smuggled out of North Korea, and the actual ‘fictional’ (probably closer to non-fiction than we can imagine) stories.
I am always drawn to books like this. Books written by people who are/were in desperate situations: Palestine, WW2, comfort women, and concentration camps. I almost feel as it is my duty to hear them out. I am very privileged to be living in safe, democratic country and I can only imagine the hardship Bandi went through to write this manuscript, and the stress he must deal with in continuing to be safe. There are notes before, and at the end of the book detailing how the book was smuggled out, and the story of how it came to be printed. There are also two lovely poems that were part of the manuscript, one they put at the beginning and one at the end of the book.
The stories themselves are simple, and devastating in their critique of the regime. Each story revolves around such a simple thing that would be no problem for most of us in our country (traveling to visit a sick relative, for example) but in North Korea, every part of your life is regulated, monitored, and controlled.
I enjoyed these stories and hope that we will look back on it and see that people resisted. I pray that Bandi and his family are safe. I hope they know their manuscript has made it out into the world and people are reading it.
We hear you, and take solace in the truth that no empire, no dynasty, no king will last forever.
Book #13 in my #ReadingChallenge2021