Hyok Kang's story of a childhood spent in North Korea during the repressive regime of Kim Jong Il provides a rare window into the "most closed state in the world." Thirteen when he and his parents escaped to China in 1998, Hyok paints a mind-boggling picture of long school days followed by hours of farmwork, routine executions viewed by hundreds, and the "nocturnal disappearances" of friends and neighbors--the "unfaithful" who were sent away to penal colonies. It was only when faced with death by starvation that the family ultimately made the decision to escape. Since UN rations were siphoned off by party members, and leaves, grass, bark, and grasshoppers became the only available food for the masses, Hyok recalls that all but 8 or 9 of his 35 classmates had starved to death before he and his family fled. They lived like "hunted animals" for four years in China, always fearing deportation, until finally reaching South Korea, where Hyok was able to share, in both words and drawings, his remarkable saga. Deborah DonovanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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An engrossing picture of a nation that remains closed to the world, aptly described as the "Jurasic Park of communism" SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY This is an extraordinary story: a simple, yet luminous, account of what it means to grow up in one of the world's little known and most oppressive dictatorships. This North Korean Harry Potter has the evils of tyranny to contend with and escape is the ha Lisa Appignanesi This is a rare and precious insight into the most obscure regime on earth through the startled and observant eyes of a thirteen-year-old boy who not only escaped but survived to tell this harrowing yet intriguing tale. The most penetrating account of life in North Korea I have ever read Jon Snow Kang recounts his life with the kind of deadpan detail that is all the more powerful for its quiet understatement ... His capacity as a storyteller turns out to be masterly ... The result is a small jewel of a book, one that moves you with compassion MAIL ON SUNDAY