A family is being exiled from Pyongyang because of its son who is going through nervous breakdowns every time he confronts the portraits of Karl Marx or Kim Il-sung. A son fights to get granted permission to visit his ill mother who is living in a village not too far away. A man decides to defect being frustrated by the hereditary class system that prevails in the People’s Republic of Korea. A grandmother meets Kim Il-sung, she calls him tenderly “Father and Great Leader”, an incident that the official propaganda takes advantage of.
These stories that have been written in blood and tears, smuggled out of North Korea and have caused quite a stir to the West as they bring into light an agonizing human view of the last totalitarian regime of the world. Apart from their literary value, their publication puts in direct danger the life of the author in case that his true identity gets revealed one day.
These short stories are the literary testimony of an author who survives in living hell conditions but at the same time managed to keep his creative solidarity and integrity.
“The Solzhenitsyn of Pyongyang … A luminous testimony, crammed with irony, on the insane regime of Kim Il-Sung and the hopelessness of the citizens of North Korea” (L’Express)
“This collection of novellas that the author managed to extract from his country is of incredible value . . . The classic construction reminds us of Gogol and Chekhov, and for their taste for absurdist satire, Ionesco and Bulgakov.” (Books Magazine)
“Dissident tales from pseudonymous author Bandi, still living in the country . . . very rare fiction to emerge from the secretive dictatorship . . . on its way to becoming an international literary sensation.” (Alison Flood, Guardian)
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