I don’t listen to audio books very frequently. So often they just don’t ‘sound’ right to me. But I’ve had a head cold and a massive headache and did not read for 5 days. This is almost unheard of in my life. The one thing that saved me was the audio version of Without You, There Is No Us by Suki Kim.
Without You, There Is No Us is a memoir about Kim’s time spent posing as a missionary and teaching at a university in North Korea. I am fascinated (and horrified) by North Korea, and this book had been on my TBR for a long time. I jumped when I saw it was available in audio at my library.
Kim writes about not only her experience as one of the few foreigners allowed into North Korea, but also of the experiences of the students she teaches. At times they seem like any other 19 and 20 year olds, and then at other times the years of brain washing seep through as the parrot unlikely propaganda. Throughout her stay in Pyongyang Kim tries to open her students’ eyes to the world outside, with varying degrees of success.
Who would like this book? This book will appeal both to fans of travel memoirs and those interested in learning more about North Korea. The limits on Kim’s freedom at times brought The Handmaid’s Tale to mind, only this is real. I loved listening to every word of the book, from the food they ate to the highly orchestrated field trips the teachers were taken on. As an audio experience I rate it quite highly and haven’t been able to find any other book to follow on its heels.