While I’ve swallowed countless Korean textbooks I actually cannot believe that it would take me this long to finish my first real book written entirely in Korean. I’ve wanted to for such a long time and I’ve even started reading Korean books only to feel discouraged with the slow pace and the many unknown words. However, when I was in Korea last month I bought a ton of books and decided that now was the time for me to not only start but actually finish a book in Korean.
One of the books I bought was the Korean version of the book called “In order to live” (in Korean: 내가 본 것을 당신이 알게 됐으면). This book is the agonizing story of the 23-year-old North Korean defector Park Yeon Mi and her experiences as a child in the land of darkness followed by her escape to China where she at 13 years old was sold as a slave in order to avoid being sent back to North Korea by the Chinese authorities. She tells her story plainly and calmly, but while reading it you can feel the chill of the North Korean winters in your very bones.
The book is 330 pages long and it took me about a month to finish it by reading some 10 pages every morning. To anyone who is curious about North Korea or just in general about how much hardship the human mind is able to overcome, I strongly recommend reading this book. It’s orginally published in English and has been translated into several languages. I’ve even seen a Danish version in my local bookstore.