Nothing To Envy | Granta

  • Published: 10/06/2010
  • ISBN: 9781847083371
  • Granta Books
  • 336 pages

Nothing To Envy

Barbara Demick

WINNER OF THE BBC SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION 2010

A spectacularly revealing and harrowing portrait of ordinary lives in the world’s least ordinary country, North Korea

North Korea is Orwell’s 1984 made reality: it is the only country in the world not connected to the internet; Gone with the Wind is a dangerous, banned book; during political rallies, spies study your expression to check your sincerity. After the death of the country’s great leader Kim Il Sung in 1994, famine descended, and Nothing to Envy – winner of the 2010 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction – weaves together the stories of adversity and resilience of six residents of Chongin, North Korea’s third-largest city. From extensive interviews and with tenacious investigative work, Barbara Demick has recreated the concerns, culture and lifestyles of North Korean citizens in a gripping narrative, and vividly reconstructed the inner workings of this extraordinary and secretive country.

A rare and valuable insight ... Nothing to Envy is a searchlight shining on a country cloaked in darkness

Alastair Mabbott, Herald

Barbara Demick's achievement is to restore a measure of humanity to 23 million human beings. Many scholars have pored over North Korea's atrocious history, its fearful politics, abysmal economics and blood-curdling propaganda. No writer I know has done a better job of clothing these academic concerns with the rich detail of the lives of ordinary people - explaining, simply, what it feels like to be a citizen of the cruellest, most repressive and most retrograde country in the world

Richard Lloyd Parry, The Times

A most perceptive and eye-opening account of everyday life in North Korea

Jung Chang

The Author

Barbara Demick won the Samuel Johnson Prize for Nothing to Envy (Granta, 2010), her seminal book on North Korea. She is also the author of Besieged (Granta, 2012), her account of the war in Sarajevo, which won the George Polk Award, the Robert F Kennedy Award and was shortlisted for a Pulitzer Prize. She lives in New York.

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