Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick
Ordinary Lives in North Korea

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The book has all the hallmarks of a great literary novel, because Demick uses narrative techniques to interweave the individual stories of six main characters living in Chongjin, the nation's third largest city.
-Reading Matters

Synopsis

A National Book Award finalist and National Book Critics Circle finalist, Barbara Demick’s Nothing to Envy is a remarkable view into North Korea, as seen through the lives of six ordinary citizens
 
Nothing to Envy follows the lives of six North Koreans over fifteen years—a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung, the unchallenged rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il, and the devastation of a far-ranging famine that killed one-fifth of the population.

Taking us into a landscape most of us have never before seen, award-winning journalist Barbara Demick brings to life what it means to be living under the most repressive totalitarian regime today—an Orwellian world that is by choice not connected to the Internet, in which radio and television dials are welded to the one government station, and where displays of affection are punished; a police state where informants are rewarded and where an offhand remark can send a person to the gulag for life. 

Demick takes us deep inside the country, beyond the reach of government censors. Through meticulous and sensitive reporting, we see her six subjects—average North Korean citizens—fall in love, raise families, nurture ambitions, and struggle for survival. One by one, we experience the moments when they realize that their government has betrayed them. 

Nothing to Envy is a groundbreaking addition to the literature of totalitarianism and an eye-opening look at a closed world that is of increasing global importance.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Barbara Demick

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Barbara Demick is the Beijing bureau chief of the Los Angeles Times. Her book Nothing to Envy was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her reporting on North Korea won the Overseas Press Club's award for human rights reporting as well as awards from the Asia Society and the American Academy of Diplomacy. Her coverage of Sarajevo for The Philadelphia Inquirer won the George Polk Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in international reporting.
 
Published December 1, 2009 by Spiegel & Grau. 340 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel, Education & Reference, Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Nothing to Envy
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

Inverarity is not a Scottish village

Good
Reviewed by Inverarity on Aug 31 2010

A book worth reading. It puts human faces on a country that most people know only as part of the “Axis of Evil." We may worry more about Al Qaida than we do about North Korea nowadays, but that could change very quickly.

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Reading Matters

Good
Reviewed by kimbofo on Oct 19 2010

The book has all the hallmarks of a great literary novel, because Demick uses narrative techniques to interweave the individual stories of six main characters living in Chongjin, the nation's third largest city.

Read Full Review of Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Liv...

http://www.aartichapati.com

Good
Reviewed by Aarti on Aug 22 2012

Reading their stories here really humanizes North Koreans and makes it clear that, just like the rest of the world, they have individual hopes and dreams that they want to accomplish, too. A beautiful book with a lot of heart.

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