Jonathan Mirsky

Life Under Kim

Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea


Granta Books 314pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

Barbara Demick, Beijing bureau chief of the Los Angeles Times, has written a fair, modest and informative book about North Korea, a country little known and less understood.

Between 2001 and 2008 she visited the place nine times and was enveloped in official company throughout. Apart from Pyongyang, a kind of Potemkin village the façade of which one would have to be half-witted not to see through, she merely glimpsed other parts of the country and its people, and ‘no unauthorized conversations took place’.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter