Growing up hungry in North Korea

About 5,000 to 6,000 tourists a year visit North Korea, and occasionally a writer sneaks in among them (see Nigel Richardson’s pieces from 2013 for Telegraph Travel and National Geographic Traveller), so we know what it’s like to be a visitor there. In a new book, Yeonmi Park, who fled the country at 13, tells what it was like to grow up there and to endure the famine and economic collapse of the 1990s. In In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom (Fig Tree) — serialised in the Telegraph Magazine — she writes:

“Because electricity was rare in our neighbourhood, whenever the lights came on people were so happy they would sing and clap and shout… When you have so little, the smallest things can make you happy — and that is one of the very few features of life in North Korea that I actually miss.”


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