Guy Delisle is an animator whose job takes him to North Korea for two months. He wrote Pyongyang about his experiences in the country.  North Korea was in many ways a strange experience for the Canadian animator. Life in the country is centered around the deceased president, Kim Il-Sung and his successor. People “volunteer” one day a week to do community service tasks like sweeping the highway. As a foreigner, he’s not allowed to travel anywhere without his translator. The huge hotel he lives in only has one inhabited floor. Throughout the book, Guy Delisle makes conversational overtures towards the North Koreans, trying to ask them about their opinion of life in North Korea, but he continually finds that the values these people have are so different from his own values that he’s hard put to understand their lifestyle and their personal views. This book is an introspective look at life in North Korea from the point of view of a visitor, told in simple black, white, and greytone drawings. On top of being interesting, this book is educational, and a great way to get teens interested in current affairs and North Korea.  Guy Delisle often pokes fun at the North Koreans, but he also applies the same humor to himself, making the book engaging and thought-provoking. Pyongyang was one of YALSA’s Best Books for Young Adults in 2006.

Pyongyang: A Journey In North Korea
by Guy Delisle
ISBN: 9781897299210
Drawn & Quarterly, 2005

  • Gina Gagliano

    Past Reviewer

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