The Aquariums of Pyongyang by Kang Chol Hwan. Recommended by Hannah Sung.

Aquariums of Pyongyang by Kang Chol Hwan

Published: 2005, Basic Books (@BasicBooks)

The Recommendation:

For those who want a bigger picture than what they read in the news, I’d suggest Aquariums of Pyongyang by Kang Chol Hwan.

It is his memoir of growing up in the notorious Yodok prison in North Korea.  He defected and is now a journalist in Seoul.

I came across it while Euna Lee and Laura Ling, the two American journalists, were being held in North Korea earlier this year.

It is a fascinating, horrifying account of what life can be like in the most psychologically-jarring fascist regime on earth.

Not exactly light reading, but it is the book that has stayed with me most this year.

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About Hannah Sung (@HannahSung):

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Hannah Sung is a reporter, producer, documentarian, and host of the online CBC Book Club.

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