Synopses & Reviews
Barbara Demick's Nothing to Envy
follows the lives of six North Koreans over fifteen years—a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung and the unchallenged rise to power of his son, Kim Jong-il, and the devastation of a far-ranging famine that killed one-fifth of the population. Taking us into a landscape never before seen, Demick brings to life what it means to be an average Korean citizen, living under the most repressive totalitarian regime today—an Orwellian world in which radio and television dials are welded to the one government station, a country that is by choice not connected to the Internet, a society in which outward displays of affection are punished, and a police state that rewards informants and where an offhanded remark can send a citizen to the gulag for life.
Demick's subjects—a middle-aged party loyalist and her rebellious daughter, an idealistic female doctor, an orphan, and two young lovers—all hail from the same provincial city in the farthest-flung northern reaches of the country. One by one, we witness the moments of revelation, when each realizes that they have been betrayed by the Fatherland and that their suffering is not a global condition but is uniquely theirs.
Nothing to Envy is the first book about North Korea to go deep inside the country, beyond the reach of government censors, and penetrate the mind-set of the average citizen. It is a groundbreaking and essential addition to the literature of totalitarianism.
"Following six North Koreans over the course of 15 years, Demick offers a haunting portrait of life in North Korea. Her subjects are instantly relatable they fall in love, raise families but as their country grows increasingly isolated, totalitarian, and repressive, and is ravaged by unemployment and famine, they risk everything to leave. Karen White delivers a stunning reading; her character interpretations are confident and well-rounded, and she forges a strong bond with the audience. Powerful without becoming overwrought, White handles the harrowing material with sensitivity and intelligence. An unforgettable listening experience that will resonate long after the final sentence. A Random hardcover (Reviews, Sept. 28). (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Strongly written and gracefully structured...[Demick] vividly and evocatively portrays courageous individuals and a tyrannized state within a saga of unfathomable suffering punctuated by faint glimmers of hope." ---Booklist Starred Review
A gripping, astounding view into North Korea through the lives of six ordinary citizens—an important story that has never been told before.
About the Author
Barbara Demick is the Beijing bureau chief of the Los Angeles Times. Her reporting on North Korea won the Overseas Press Club's award for human rights reporting as well as awards from the Asia Society and the American Academy of Diplomacy. Her coverage of Sarajevo for the Philadelphia Inquirer won the George Polk Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in international reporting. Barbara is the author of Logavina Street: Life and Death in a Sarajevo Neighborhood. Karen White has been narrating and directing audiobooks for more than a dozen years and has well over one hundred books to her credit. Honored to be included among AudioFile's Best Voices 2010 and 2011, she is also an Audie Award finalist and Best Audiobook of the Year winner and has earned multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards for narration and direction.Publishers Weekly says of Karen's narration of Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick, "Karen White delivers a stunning reading, her character interpretations are confident and well-rounded, and she forges a strong bond with the audience."Speaking of Audiobooks says, "Karen is one of my auto-buy narrators-if I think a book may interest me, her narration will sway me to give it a try."