Appendix from Star of the North: Background information when reading Star of the North

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Star of the North

by D.B. John

Star of the North by D.B. John X
Star of the North by D.B. John
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2019, 416 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2018, 416 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte
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About this Book

Appendix from Star of the North

This article relates to Star of the North

Print Review

Korean FlagStar of the North is full of intriguing asides about the North Korean regime. The author, D. B. North, includes much of the background behind these nuggets as an appendix at the end of the novel. Below is an excerpt from it, and you can read the rest of it here.

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 people are sealed shut from the outside world. They are told that they live in a land of plenty and freedom, yet children are imprisoned for the thought-crimes of their parents, and the regime uses starvation as a means of political control. Such a state has, over the years, behaved in a way that outsiders might find very difficult to believe, let alone understand, so readers may be interested to know which elements of the novel draw from fact.

... Continued

Filed under Places, Cultures & Identities

Article by Poornima Apte

This article relates to Star of the North. It first ran in the July 11, 2018 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.

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