Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea (Paperback)

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea By Barbara Demick Cover Image

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea (Paperback)

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An eye-opening account of life inside North Korea—a closed world of increasing global importance—hailed as a “tour de force of meticulous reporting” (The New York Review of Books)
 
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST

In this landmark addition to the literature of totalitarianism, award-winning journalist Barbara Demick follows the lives of six North Korean citizens over fifteen years—a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung, the rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il (the father of Kim Jong-un), and a devastating famine that killed one-fifth of the population.
 
Demick brings to life what it means to be living under the most repressive regime today—an Orwellian world that is by choice not connected to the Internet, where displays of affection are punished, informants are rewarded, and an offhand remark can send a person to the gulag for life. She takes us deep inside the country, beyond the reach of government censors, and through meticulous and sensitive reporting we see her subjects fall in love, raise families, nurture ambitions, and struggle for survival. One by one, we witness their profound, life-altering disillusionment with the government and their realization that, rather than providing them with lives of abundance, their country has betrayed them.

Praise for Nothing to Envy

“Provocative . . . offers extensive evidence of the author’s deep knowledge of this country while keeping its sights firmly on individual stories and human details.”The New York Times

“Deeply moving . . . The personal stories are related with novelistic detail.”The Wall Street Journal

“A tour de force of meticulous reporting.”The New York Review of Books

“Excellent . . . humanizes a downtrodden, long-suffering people whose individual lives, hopes and dreams are so little known abroad.”San Francisco Chronicle

“The narrow boundaries of our knowledge have expanded radically with the publication of Nothing to Envy. . . . Elegantly structured and written, [it] is a groundbreaking work of literary nonfiction.”—John Delury, Slate

“At times a page-turner, at others an intimate study in totalitarian psychology.”The Philadelphia Inquirer
Barbara Demick is the author of Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award and the winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize in the United Kingdom, and Logavina Street: Life and Death in a Sarajevo Neighborhood. Her books have been translated into more than twenty-five languages. Demick is a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times and a contributor to The New Yorker, and was recently a press fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Product Details ISBN: 9780385523912
ISBN-10: 0385523912
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: September 21st, 2010
Pages: 336
Language: English
“Provocative . . . offers extensive evidence of the author’s deep knowledge of this country while keeping its sights firmly on individual stories and human details.”The New York Times

“Deeply moving . . . The personal stories are related with novelistic detail.”The Wall Street Journal

“Excellent . . . humanizes a downtrodden, long-suffering people whose individual lives, hopes and dreams are so little known abroad.”San Francisco Chronicle

“The narrow boundaries of our knowledge have expanded radically with the publication of Nothing to Envy. . . . Elegantly structured and written, [it] is a groundbreaking work of literary nonfiction.”Slate

“At times a page-turner, at others an intimate study in totalitarian psychology.”The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Haunting . . . a clear-eyed and deeply reported look at [North Korea].”The Plain Dealer

Nothing to Envy must do what journalism hasn’t been required to do for nearly a century: use words to create pictures of scenes that cannot be captured by a camera. With an eloquence seldom found in newspaper journalists, Demick has risen to the occasion—all the more remarkable when you consider that she hasn’t seen these sights herself. She has a novelist’s knack for eliciting the telling detail.”Salon

“In a stunning work of investigation, Barbara Demick removes North Korea’s mask to reveal what lies beneath its media censorship and repressive dictatorship.”The Daily Beast

“No writer I know has done a better job of clothing these academic concerns with the rich detail of the lives of ordinary people—explaining, simply, what it feels like to be a citizen of the cruelest, most repressive and most retrograde country in the world. . . . [An] outstanding work of journalism.”The Times (London)

“These are the stories you’ll never hear from North Korea’s state news agency.”New York Post

“[A] superbly reported account of life in North Korea.’’—Bloomberg

“[Nothing to Envy] has the ring of authority as well as the suspense of a novel.”The Washington Times

“The last time I read a book with something truly harrowing or pitiful or sad on every page it was Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and those characters had the good fortune to not be real.”St. Louis Magazine

“Strongly written and gracefully structured, Demick’s potent blend of personal narratives and piercing journalism vividly and evocatively portrays courageous individuals and a tyrannized state.”Booklist (starred review)

“A fascinating and deeply personal look at the lives of six defectors from the repressive totalitarian regime of the Republic of North Korea . . . As Demick weaves [the defectors’] stories together with the hidden history of the country’s descent into chaos, she skillfully re-creates these captivating and moving personal journeys.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)