D.B. John biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

D.B. John
Photo: Ollie Grove

D.B. John

D.B. John Biography

D. B. John was born in Wales. He began training as a lawyer but switched to a career in publishing, editing popular children's books on history and science. In 2009 he moved to Berlin, Germany, to write his first novel, Flight from Berlin. A visit to North Korea in 2012 inspired Star of the North. He lives in Angel, London.



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Interview

D.B. John explains the real-life stories behind his novel, Star of the North — sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction.

AUTHOR'S NOTE

The idea for this story came to me during a visit to North Korea in 2012, when my small tour group was suborned into some of the daily rituals of the cult of Kim. On each day of the tour we were asked to pay our respects by lining up and bowing before one of the innumerable statues of Kim Il-sung, the country's founder and self-styled Great Leader. To refuse would have risked getting our two guides, a man and a woman, into trouble. My group formed a real bond with the guides. They were friendly, likeable, and highly educated, yet they would faithfully parrot the regime's propaganda, and solemnly tell us mythic stories from the life of Kim Il-sung, as if reciting parables from the Bible. Surely they didn't believe this stuff. Or did they? A job such as theirs - guiding foreign visitors - is only awarded to the most loyal, the most politically trusted individuals. Most likely, their minds performed the kind of doublethink described by George Orwell in 1984 - to know and not know at the same time - in order to account for the daily discrepancies between the propaganda and the evidence of their own eyes.

So much about North Korea is stranger than fiction. It is a hereditary Marxist monarchy whose ...

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Books by this Author

Books by D.B. John at BookBrowse
Star of the North jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for D.B. John but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Barbara Demick

    Barbara Demick

    Barbara Demick has been interviewing North Koreans about their lives since 2001, when she moved to Seoul for the Los Angeles Times. Her reporting on North Korea won the Overseas Press Club award for human rights reporting, ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Star of the North

    Try:
    Nothing to Envy
    by Barbara Demick

  • Paul Fischer

    Paul Fischer

    Paul Fischer is a film producer who studied social sciences at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Paris and film at the University of Southern California and the New York Film Academy. Paul's first feature film, the ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Star of the North

    Try:
    A Kim Jong-Il Production
    by Paul Fischer

We recommend 5 similar authors

View all 5 Readalikes

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