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Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  17,328 ratings  ·  1,488 reviews
Famously referred to as part of the "Axis of Evil," North Korea is one of the most secretive and mysterious nations in the world today. A series of manmade and natural catastrophes have also left it one of the poorest. When this fortress-like country recently opened the door a crack to foreign investment, cartoonist Guy Delisle found himself in its capital of Pyongyang on ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Drawn and Quarterly (first published October 2003)
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Emily May
I think of mentioning it to our charming guide, but why bother in a country that’s so devoid of common sense?

I've spent most of the last 24 hours immersed in non-fiction graphic novels. Tatiana's review of The Arab of the Future 3 inspired me to seek out other graphic novels about foreign countries, and I've already read and enjoyed Sacco's Palestine and Delisle's Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City.

Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea is another Delisle book, but this one I liked conside
Feb 14, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paul Bryant
Just seen the news about Sony's movie The Interview and now I'm thinking - Uh oh - I hope this review doesn't get hacked and bring Goodreads down with it! Because really, all I am trying to do is to lower the international temperature and turn those tears to smiles as we present a short musical selection we like to call


President Obama (dressed as a Mother Superior) :

Have you met my good friend North Korea,
The craziest nation on earth?
You'll know it the minute you see it,
Jan 02, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was ok. The subject matter and observations were pretty fascinating. But I LOATHED the artist's tone, and it was distracting. I found him to be disrespectful and xenophobic. Yes, I said disrespectful and I meant it. Sure, the North Korean government is responsible for some of the worst human rights violations in the world, and they deserve to be criticized. But the author chose to go there, chose to do business with them, and chose to allow the money he is getting paid for his work there to e ...more
This is a work of satire. Which means that trenchant wit, irony, sarcasm, parody or caricature is used to expose and discredit vice or folly, to ridicule conduct, doctrines, or institutions.
When I read the reviews, I have the impression that people tend to forget this, or that they really don't like this genre. A considerable number of reviewers think the author is racist, misogynistic, self-righteous.

I don't see him like that at all. His satire and politically incorrect jokes are lighthearted
Delisle's Pyongyang experience is a little different from his other books because in the case of North Korea, Delisle is here to work on animation studies for a film. Apparently most major animation studios find animation devilishly expensive to produce in the home country and so go to lower-wage countries to do the in-between frames in a storyline so that the work is smooth and not herky-jerky.

Foreigners are asked to come for short periods of time to keep an eye on the project and get the work
Guy Deslisle's 'Pyongyang' provides a rare and interesting look at the nation of whispering prisoners. Deslisle was an animator before he started making comics, and oddly enough, North Korea has been a world leader in cell animation for decades. This meant he was one of the few westerners to live the surreal life in Pyongyang, spending two months on a work visa.


Animation is the most unlikely of North Korea's rare export success stories, and a dying one; cell animation continues to diminish in f
Pramod Nair
May 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea - originally published as 'Pyongyang' in French - by Canadian cartoonist Guy Delisle, is a travel memoir presented in a graphic novel format. The book presents the author’s personal experiences at 'Pyongyang', the capital of North Korea during his two months stay in 2001 working as a coordinator between a French animation company and SEK studio in North Korea. During this stay every movement of Guy Delisle was constantly accompanied and monitored by the state ...more
Adalira Morningstar
This book should be renamed to A Journey of a Fucking Asshole because the author is an insufferable, racist, whiny dickbag of colossal proportions.

I think I finally snapped after the author talks about how people in North Korea are going without food, only to turn around and complain that he's gaining weight from the oily food they serve him at his hotel. How the fuck can you be so insensitive to complain about being so well fed while others literally starve around you? How do you draw that and
Magrat Ajostiernos
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cómics
Una manera fácil y amena de aprender un poco más sobre el terrible régimen norcoreano.
En este reportaje Delisle nos cuenta su propia experiencia en este país y resulta tan surrealsita que a veces no puedes evitar soltar alguna carcajada... pero luego lo piensas y te dan ganas de llorar.
I've been trying to read more books about North Korea because of recent news events. This is an interesting memoir by a Canadian artist who was sent to Pyongyang for his animation work. (Apparently a lot of animation is now done in Asia.) Delisle has a Western viewpoint, and he shares his cynicism about the endless propaganda and nationalism that is promoted in North Korea. Being a foreigner, he has several privileges that the citizens don't, such as access to more food and electricity, but ever ...more
I rated it 2 stars at first simply because I felt bad hating something a friend had lent me... But I've gotta be honest, so this is getting a 1 star and a spot on my "hated list".

I didn't even bother finishing it, I was just too annoyed by the author's tone, his racist and misogynist remarks and the very poor humor.
This is not for me at all and I'd much rather be reading something else.

Give it a try if you're curious (Delisle seems to be a very popular graphic novels writter) and see for yourse
Reading this about the same time I read Persepolis 2 got me thinking about the differences between the experiences each author had traveling/living in another country. In Persepolis 2, the characters are a hodgepodge of flavors; in Pyongyang, there are two types: foreigner and native.

Delisle seems blissfully unaware of his own prejudice and selfishness, which was what really made the book ring true. I mean, honestly - everyone thinks that his or her own belief system and way of life is "right."
Jun 15, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
I have to agree with some of the other reviews that call Delisle on his racism and misogyny. It wasn't even the kind of over-the-top, look-at-how-ridiculous-I-am-being, poking-fun-at-racism kind of racism that I've come to expect from so-called comedians and authors today. It was plain, old boring thinly veiled racism and misogyny. Objectifying women, calling them bitches, calling Korean children "monkeys", generalizing about "these" countries and all of Asia as if there is no diversity to be fo ...more
Michael Finocchiaro
All of Guy Delisle's comic books are beguiling, funny and insightful and Pyongyang is extraordinary in this regard. And, in this particular moment, with certain dictatorial presidents trying to legitimize the completely f*cked up regime there (surely the ground-breaking of Trump Pyongyang International Hotel, Casino, and Bordel will happen in 2019-2020), it is a timely read. The author does all the drawing and screenplay and is a pleasure to read due to his perceptiveness but also his deadpan Ca ...more
I generally like Delisle's work. I like his drawing style, I find it rather charming and I like his slice of life stuff that informs the work. He is adept at throwing in little touches of humor, both visual and verbal, which I enjoy. But I gotta be honest here, there were points in this book where he came across as very smug and condescending towards North Koreans. Dehumanizing. It was surprising and disappointing, I guess I didn't expect that from him, and I found it disrespectful and I think i ...more
Aug 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Guy Delisle je u Sjevernoj Koreji radio kao posrednik između francuske produkcijske kuće za animacije i sjevernokorejskog studija koji im je radio manje zahtjevnu animaciju. Proveo je dva mjeseca u Pyongyangu, a u istoimenom stripu je zabilježio svoje dojmove.

Kako tehnologija napreduje s njom se razvija i reklamna industrija, tako da nam sve više vidike zaklanjaju raznim plakatima, a predviđa se da će u skoroj budućnosti plakati biti "inteligentni" i interaktivni, znat će tko im se približava i
Lady Jayme,
This book is a true account of a French animator (Guy Delisle) who travels to North Korea to oversee a cartooning project. Since North Korea is one of the most closed nations on earth and is run by a totalitarian government, this insight into North Korean life is amazing and somewhat shocking. This is a graphic novel and Delisle’s drawings are simple but fun. The lack of freedom is at times heartbreaking, but there are plenty of humorous moments. Delisle also throws in some facts about the world ...more
Mar 15, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Go read Lilburninbean's review. She pretty much does an excellent job summing up.

I forced myself to finish this graphic novel and felt like smacking the guy upside the head... Boo hoo hoo, poor French Canadian dude has to spend a few months in North Korea, living what is a very good life and eating very well compared to other North Koreans, but whining through it. Acting like a pretty standard spoiled, holier-than-thou Westerner. It is a poor, unenlightening account that doesn't bring you any cl
Aug 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bit different than other graphic novels I read. There is no classical storyline, plots twists or punchline.This is kind of memoir from one of not many foreigners who had visited North Korea and brief window into bleak realty of country surgically removed from the rest of the world.
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Çizimler çok iyi, konuyu işleyişi eğlenceli. Beğendim. 3.5/5
I wanted to like this. I expected to like this, honestly. I tried, I really did, but I just couldn't. I really enjoy graphic novels, I enjoy them when they are non-fiction, and I have been wanting to read travel memoirs since it's am unexplored and fascinating topic for me. This should have been a good fit.

The art was enjoyable in a simplistic way and there was a moment or two I smiled at a bit. I did learn a nit about North Korea that I didn't already know, which is always a plus. It did make m
David Schaafsma
I am amazed at all the 4 and 5 star reviews about this book. I just generally do not like Delisle's work, maybe. He as a "character" in his own memoir I certainly do not like, or haven't yet. Second book I read, and the only reason I read it was because I had just read Our Twisted Hero, a story by a Korean author about Korea in the fifties, a political parable I really liked, and found moving and insightful, so I thought: oh, Delisle was there in recent years, he may give me some deep insights i ...more
Read as a trenchant political satire, I thought this had some hilarious parts and I liked Delisle's "take" on his time in North Korea. I wonder how/if the country has shifted since the time of this writing.

3/5 stars - entertaining, informational, with some laugh out loud moments.
Oct 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a travelogue from cartoonist Guy Delisle who went to Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea to work on a French Project regarding some animation film. He illustrated his two months long stay in that supreme city of supreme leaders in this graphic novel.

Every single thing in that city was weird for a foreigner like MR. Guy! Whenever any outsider enters the city, they must be accompanied by a guide always and they must follow the instructions of their guides! Even they cannot hire a taxi o
I see a lot of quibbling here about whether or not the author is an asshole. Mostly it's along the lines of "he called the water delivery woman a bitch; he's an asshole" vs. "no he didn't and no he isn't." And so on. Y'all are missing the point* -- he's an epic, amoral, complicit asshole just for taking the job in the first place. The reason for widespread boycotting of North Korea, even by aid organizations, is that economic activity doesn't help the people. Bringing economic activity to North ...more
Christopher Pulleyn
Apr 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Christopher by: Kaitlin Grott
I have a real interest in the very secretive communist country of North Korea and this illustrated book was a very original and suitably quirky way of providing the reader with an insight into the life of a foreign worker in NK's capital city Pyongyang.

The book was really easy to pick up and read, although a little hard to put down with a lack of clear chapter divides. Considering that photographs and reports of the country are so heavily censored and restricted, Delisle very creatively illustra

Un punto di vista distorto

Un viaggio di lavoro dell'autore si trasforma in un'occasione per scoprire e per descrivere la Corea del Nord, con le sue stranezze e le sue peculiarità.

Come quella del Presidente, che è rimasto in carica anche dopo la sua morte. O il fatto che gli abitanti dello stato con il quarto esercito al mondo siano affamati e in povertà. O che la Corea del Nord sia l'unico stato al mondo senza internet e telefoni cellulari.

Ho trovato interessante l'argomento (che ora tra l'alt
Nelson Zagalo
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic_novel
Esta semana escrevi para o IGN um texto* sobre a diferença entre contar histórias baseadas na realidade e na fantasia, defendendo que o facto de basear as histórias numa “verdade”, não as torna mais relevantes. O que digo aí não podia assentar melhor no problema com que me deparei ao ler "Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea", um livro de banda desenhada escrito por Guy Deslile, no qual relata os dois meses que passou na Coreia do Norte a trabalhar num filme de animação.

“Pyongyang” revela-se uma
Not bad. The graphics are good. But having said that, Guy Delisle's work fails to shed any new light about the life of people living in North Korea. It might have been a revealing work when it was first published but almost all the things mentioned in the book about North Korea could be found easily on the internet in present times.

Being a cartoonist, Guy Delisle visited North Korea for 2 months on a work visa to supervise the animation of a children's cartoon show.

And yes, it also seem to me
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Play Book Tag: Pyongyang: a journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle - 4 stars 4 20 Jul 19, 2018 10:14AM  
Play Book Tag: Pyongyang by Guy Delisle - 3 stars 3 16 Feb 21, 2018 07:35PM  
Book Club: Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea 1 2 Nov 11, 2017 06:29PM  
AlexandriaLibraryVA: October 10, 2017 - "Pyongyang" by Guy Delisle 1 8 Sep 11, 2017 02:02PM  
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Born in Quebec, Canada, Guy Delisle studied animation at Sheridan College. Delisle has worked for numerous animation studios around the world, including CinéGroupe in Montreal.

Drawing from his experience at animation studios in China and North Korea, Delisle's graphic novels Shenzen and Pyongyang depict these two countries from a Westerner's perspective. A third graphic novel, Chroniques Birmanes,
“In fact, they live in a state of constant paradox where truth is anything but constant” 1 likes
“And I certainly wouldn't demonize an entire people on the basis of 3 blurry photos and a few paintings” 0 likes
More quotes…