I can’t stop thinking about this book. The lives and images that unfold on these pages will not leave me. I think about my life in 1993 as a well-fed and warmly dressed six-year-old, then I think about the children my same age in North Korea whose starved bodies slowly consumed their own muscles. I think about men and women executed for feeding themselves. I want to scream. I want to cry. Avoidable famine shaped the bellies, bodies and futures of these men, women, teens and children.
Demick’s book is a beautiful work of humanity, focusing on human details that create a fascinating narrative and a larger portrait of this mostly unknown country. She does describe horrifying hunger and oppression, but she also writes about love blossoming in the dark, the ingenuity of man and the resilience of the human spirit.