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Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea Paperback – Illustrated, 21 September 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 1,324 ratings

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Review

“The narrow boundaries of our knowledge have expanded radically with the publication of Los Angeles Times correspondent Barbara Demick’s Nothing To Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea. . . . Elegantly structured and written, Nothing To Envy is a groundbreaking work of literary nonfiction.”Slate

“Excellent . . . lovely work of narrative nonfiction . . . a book that offers extensive evidence of the author’s deep knowledge of this country while keeping its sights firmly on individual stories and human details.”New York Times

“A deeply moving book.”Wall Street Journal

“Superbly reported account of life in North Korea.’’Bloomberg

“There’s a simple way to determine how well a journalist has reported a story, internalized the details, seized control of the narrative and produced good work. When you read the result, you forget the journalist is there. Barbara Demick, the Los Angeles Times’ Beijing bureau chief, has aced that test in “Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea,” a clear-eyed and deeply reported look at one of the world’s most dismal places.’’–Cleveland Plain Dealer

“The ring of authority as well as the suspense of a novel.’’Washington Times

“Excellent new book is one of only a few that have made full use of the testimony of North Korean refugees and defectors. A delightful, easy-to-read work of literary nonfiction, it humanizes a downtrodden, long-suffering people whose individual lives, hopes and dreams are so little known abroad that North Koreans are often compared to robots. . . . The tale of the star-crossed lovers, Jun-sang and Mi-ran, is so charming as to have inspired reports that Hollywood might be interested.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“In a stunning work of investigation, Barbara Demick removes North Korea’s mask to reveal what lies beneath its media censorship and repressive dictatorship.”Daily Beast

“In spite of the strict restrictions on foreign press, awardwinning journalist Demick caught telling glimpses of just how surreal and mournful life is in North Korea. . . . Strongly written and gracefully structured, Demick’s potent blend of personal narratives and piercing journalism vividly and evocatively portrays courageous individuals and a tyrannized state.”Booklist

“These are the stories you’ll never hear from North Korea’s state news agency.”New York Post

“At times a page-turner, at others an intimate study in totalitarian psychology. Demick . . . takes us inside the minds of her subjects, rendering them as complex, often compelling characters—not the brainwashed parodies we see marching in unison in TV reports.”Philadelphia Inquirer

“The last time I read a book with something truly harrowing or pitiful or sad on every page it was Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and those characters had the good fortune to not be real.”St. Louis Magazine

About the Author

Barbara Demick is the author of Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award and the winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize in the U.K., and Logavina Street: Life and Death in a Sarajevo Neighborhood. Her books have been translated into more than twenty-five languages. Demick is a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times and a contributor to The New Yorker, and was recently a press fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
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Product details

  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 336 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0385523912
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0385523912
  • Customer reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 1,324 ratings

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5
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Lindosland
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, and enlightening, but some things don't add up. Read it, but with an open mind.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 25 March 2018
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30 people found this helpful
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Sara Paine
4.0 out of 5 stars Real North Korean Life Stories - But Not An Easy Read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 25 February 2020
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5 people found this helpful
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David Wenman
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on North Korea
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 11 October 2017
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9 people found this helpful
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Bizzy
5.0 out of 5 stars A Nation Kept in the Dark, Unaware of Modern Living.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 March 2020
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One person found this helpful
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orgogliojuventino
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute must read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 6 January 2016
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2 people found this helpful
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