Forbidden stories smuggled out of North Korea – translated by Deborah Smith, translator of Han Kang’s The Vegetarian
We at Serpent’s Tail have a set of 10 hardback copies of Bandi’s The Accusation to give to a reading group. These short stories portray life in a totalitarian state and will make for fascinating and rich discussion that can draw in political events from around the globe making headlines today. We’d be fascinated to hear what conversation arises from your reading group so do get in touch after you’ve read the book to let us know.
In 1989, a North Korean dissident writer, known to us only by the pseudonym Bandi, began to write a series of stories about life under Kim Il-sung’s totalitarian regime. Smuggled out of North Korea and set for publication around the world in 2017, The Accusation provides a unique and shocking window on this most secretive of countries. Bandi’s profound, deeply moving, vividly characterised stories tell of ordinary men and women facing the terrible absurdity of daily life in North Korea: a factory supervisor caught between loyalty to an old friend and loyalty to the Party; a woman struggling to feed her husband through the great famine; the mother raising her child in a world where the all-pervasive propaganda is the very stuff of childhood nightmare.
The Accusation is a heartbreaking portrayal of the realities of life in North Korea. It is also a reminder that humanity can sustain hope even in the most desperate of circumstances – and that the courage of free thought has a power far beyond those seek to suppress it.