A haunting memoir of educating English to the sons of North Korea's ruling class throughout the final six months of Kim Jong-il's reign
Each day, 3 times a day, the college students march in two straight strains, singing praises to Kim Jong-il and North Korea: Without you, there isn’t any motherland. Without you, there isn’t any us. It’s a chilling scene, however steadily Suki Kim, too, learns the tune and, with out noticing, begins to hum it. It’s 2011, and all universities in North Korea have been shut down for a whole year, the college students despatched to development fields—apart from the 270 college students at the all-male Pyongyang College of Science and Know-how (PUST), a walled compound the place portraits of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il look on impassively from the partitions of each room, and the place Suki has accepted a job educating English. Over the subsequent six months, she is going to eat three meals a day with her younger fees and wrestle to show them to put in writing, all underneath the watchful eye of the regime.
Life at PUST is lonely and claustrophobic, particularly for Suki, whose letters are learn by censors and who should cover her notes and pictures not solely from her minders however from her colleagues—evangelical Christian missionaries who don't know or select to disregard that Suki doesn't share their religion. As the weeks cross, she is mystified by how simply her college students lie, unnerved by their obedience to the regime. At the similar time, they provide Suki tantalizing glimpses of their personal selves—their boyish enthusiasm, their eagerness to please, the flashes of curiosity that haven’t but been extinguished. She in flip begins to trace at the existence of a world past their very own—at such unique actions as browsing the Web or touring freely and, extra dangerously, at electoral democracy and different concepts forbidden in a rustic the place defectors danger torture and execution. However when Kim Jong-il dies, and the boys she has come to like seem devastated, she wonders whether or not the gulf between her world and theirs can ever be bridged.
Without You, There Is No Us provides a shifting and incalculably uncommon glimpse of life in the world's most unknowable nation, and at the privileged younger men she calls "troopers and slaves."
From the Hardcover version.