Thomas Andrikus's Reviews > Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea

Pyongyang by Guy Delisle
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Aug 05, 12

Read on August 05, 2012, read count: 1

I have always loved Guy Delisle's works.

This Quebecois artist always manages to introduce cities and countries around the world which most people consider "rogue", such as the Palestine or Burma, in a medium that most people find fresh: through graphic novels. That way, not only adult audiences can enjoy his stories and recollections...even kids can enjoy the stories as if they are leafing through the pages of Naruto

Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea, which is considered among his finest works, is his very first work written in English (all others are in French). Since he is a Canadian, he has the freedom to come into the country without being viewed with excessive suspicions...all the while he puts on everything through the magnifying glasses of a Westerner.

Since the book is graphic novel written entirely from his own observations and recollections, he does not need to endanger himself. In it, he can show through pictures why foreigners are not allowed to take the taxi without being accompanied by their "designated guides". Or why most of Pyongyang is pitch dark at night except for hotel rooms where foreigners are allowed unfettered access to electricity.

Another thing that I find fresh is the fact that though it is devoid from human activities unlike other capital cities, Pyongyang is shown as being immaculately clean and organised (perhaps one of the very few adjectives that Delisle has used positively regarding this hermit nation). He also finds it curious that the entire country seems to lack any common sense regarding the perception of Kim il-Sung and Kim Jong-il...which you could count on to make you laugh when you finally get a hold of this graphic novel.
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