Friend by Paek Nam-Nyong

Book set in Panggye, North Korea. Reviewed on 2020/12:

At first, I was very intrigued by #friend by #paeknamnyong . #columbiauniversitypress is marketing it as the first #northkorean book translated into English which it’s also widely available and popular in #northkorea . Personally, I think the merits of the storytelling are there. #PaekNamryong wrote a story with some enticing elements in a telenovela kind of way. However, after the second story, you realize that it’s all very repetitive and #selfrighteous . Then you ask yourself the question that brought you here in the first place: what do #northkoreans see in this book. Well, there might be some “hidden” cultural references peppered throughout the story only meaningful and discernable to North Koreans. OR we are all reading way too much into its local popularity. In our so-called open societies, accurately interpreting “public opinion” is within the realm of fantasy worlds with witches and dragons. Therefore, why should we pretend to read anything categorized as public opinion in a totalitarian dictatorship defined by the cult of personality? #northkoreanliterature#weatherheadbooksonasia#immanuelkim#백남룡#kanggye#벗#강계시#familydrama#troubledrelationships#publicopinion

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