Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea
A satellite photograph of Asia by night shows a black hole where North Korea should be. There is simply not enough electricity to keep the lights ... Show synopsis A satellite photograph of Asia by night shows a black hole where North Korea should be. There is simply not enough electricity to keep the lights burning. This hermetic country is Orwell's 1984 made reality. After the country's leader Kim Il Sung's death in 1994, famine descended: people stumbled over dead bodies in the street and ate tree bark to survive."Nothing to Envy" weaves together the stories of adversity and resilience of six residents of Chongin, North Korea's third largest city. Two lovers, who dated secretly for a decade, feared to criticise the regime to each other. A loyal factory worker watched her husband and son die of starvation before escaping the country. An orphaned child took to the streets, and a once-idealistic doctor, whose father committed suicide when Kim Il Sung died, took bribes to buy food. Barbara Demick has reconstructed the inner workings of this extraordinary country from extensive interviews and with tenacious investigative work. In telling the stories of Chongin's residents, she has recreated the lifestyles of North Korean citizens from their interests and concerns to their culture - and from responses to the megalomaniacal leader Kim Jong Il.