NOTHING TO ENVY: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick
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“LOS ANGELES TIMES reporter Barbara Demick uses the firsthand experiences of six North Korean defectors to reveal the starvation, corruption, and poverty of daily life under the nation’s repressive Communist regime. Despite the dismal subject, narrator Karen White is engaging; further, she handles the Korean names and accents expertly. As she delivers the defectors’ riveting descriptions of life in North Korea during the famine years, the individual stories are deeply touching and ultimately inspiring. She powerfully recounts the great risks they took to escape to South Korea or China. This is an eye-opening and heartbreaking listen.” B.C.E. © AudioFile 2010, Portland, Maine
“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.” (Publishers Weekly, Reviews, Sept. 28).