I’m on a bit of a North Korea kick right now, so I grabbed Kimjongilia by Victor Fox when I saw it. The fact that many publishers felt it was too risky to publish this book after the North Korean Sony hack made it even more appealing. It purports to be a true story, though i’d put it in the ‘based on a true story’ category.
Kimjongilia gives us an insiders look at the life of Kim Il-Sung and his first wife, Kim Jong-Suk. I have no idea how much of the story is actually true, but it does take one into the fascinating realm of what-if.
Victor Fox seems to have come into possession of the manuscript for this book under circumstances that are just as clandestine as those of the people portrayed in the book. Again, this makes me question the truths put forth in its pages. But then, I think it is important to remember that there is no such thing as a single truth. It all depends on perspective and experience.
Who would like this book? Kimjongilia, in addition to being an insider’s look at Korea’s ruling family during the 1940’s, is also a pretty good story of espionage. It gives you Russians spying on the Chinese employed to spy on the Koreans. However, the writing throughout is rather clunky and the dialogue is terrible. But, i’m not going to lie. I enjoyed it.
North Korea is the most terrifyingly fascinating place because we don’t know very much about it. What we do know, is not good. I find it interesting that you thought the dialogue was terrible and the writing clunky but you still enjoyed it. That says something. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t interested in the family in the 1940s.
Kimjongilia is one of the best written books I have ever read. Fox’s writing left me in awe.
‘Terrifyingly fascinating’ about covers it for me. Have you read Barbara Demick’s Nothing to Envy? Well worth a look, and it’s well written!
Nothing to Envy is on my list as well. We have it somewhere in our house, it is just a matter for finding it.!
I’m torn on this one – I loved Nothing to Envy and everything about North Korea fascinates me, but I’m not sure I could put up with the dodgy writing. Hmmm. Maybe I’ll have a quick scan of the opening pages if I see a copy in the library.
Kimjongilia is one of the best written books. To suggest otherwise is hilarious.
I’m not sure if I’d want to read this one. I really like to know what’s fact and what’s fiction in my reading!
I totally agree. It says it’s true, but i just don’t know.