Lauren's Reviews > Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea

Pyongyang by Guy Delisle
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May 29, 2012

Read on May 29, 2012

Slender graphic novel, surprisingly informative supplement to other readings and documentaries I've seen about our slippery, baffling North Korea. Learned a lot of small details - and it's those small ones that really mean something - about travel there as a foreigner. Details that weren't pointed out in, say, the Vice Guide to North Korea. This may be because Delisle is a French-Canadian (now Frenchman), and is therefore given more leeway than Americans. And yet his excursions were no different than those of Shane Smith (the International Friendship Exhibit, the U.S. battleship loaded with pro-NK propaganda films). Foreigners are whisked away to the same, stilted places, well-manicured endangered species in the country's otherwise lightless void. But no matter how many times I read these stories about foreigners abroad in NK, it's impossible to not be surprised again and again by the epic surrealism of it all. What makes Delisle's experience unique is that he's there on business (studio animation). This gives him more access to the strange world around him than journalists, but not much. I wish I knew what his translator really thought of Orwell's "1984." Maybe it doesn't matter.
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