There's a simple way to determine how well a journalist has reported a story, internalized the details, seized control of the narrative and produced good work. When you read the result, you forget the journalist is there. Barbara Demick...has aced that test in Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, a clear-eyed and deeply reported look at one of the world's most dismal places ... Still, people survive. They dream. They love. And, sometimes, they escape. It is these stories that Demick tells in dispassionate, haunting detail.
Rich in context and detail, the book provides a riveting account ... The careful objectivity of its author makes this compulsively readable, intimate story of fear, conformity, starvation, and flight all the more moving.
Demick’s bracing chronicle of the horrific consequences of decades of brutality provide the context for the wrenching life stories of North Korean defectors who confided in Demick ... 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 within a saga of unfathomable suffering punctuated by faint glimmers of hope.
A fascinating and deeply personal look at the lives of six defectors from the repressive totalitarian regime of the Republic of North Korea ... Thorough interviews recall the tremendous difficulty of daily life under the regime, as these six characters reveal the emotional and cultural turmoil that finally caused each to make the dangerous choice to leave. As Demick weaves their stories together with the hidden history of the country's descent into chaos, she skillfully re-creates these captivating and moving personal journeys.
A detailed, grim portrait of daily life under the repressive North Korean dictatorship ... Demick shows the state of mind of each of her subjects, what their daily life was like, how they coped and eventually how each escaped ... Meticulous reporting reveals life in a country that tries hard to keep its citizens walled in and the rest of the world out.