Suki Kim is a novelist, investigative journalist, and the only writer ever to go live undercover in North Korea to investigate and write a book from the inside. Since 2002, she has traveled to North Korea, witnessing both Kim Jong-il’s 60th birthday celebrations as well as his death at age 69 in 2011. Her best-selling book of investigative literary nonfiction, “Without You, There Is No Us: Undercover Among the Sons of North Korean Elite,” sheds a new light on the understanding of the North Korean society. Kim’s first novel, “The Interpreter,” was a finalist for a PEN Hemingway Prize, and her nonfiction has appeared in New York Times, New York Review of Books, Washington Post, Slate, and The New Republic, where she is a contributing editor. A recipient of a Guggenheim, a Fulbright, and a George Soros Foundation’s Open Society fellowship, Kim has been featured on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria’s GPS, Amanpour on PBS, and The Daily Show.
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Suki Kim’s “perspective is valuable and rare; few Americans have spent much time on the ground there.”
Suki Kim talks about living and working undercover in North Korea for six months.
“For the regime, good looks are just another asset that citizens are obliged to wield on behalf of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — no surprise there.”
Suki Kim argues, “Kim Jong Un’s reign of terror suggests an escalating paranoia, which goes hand in hand with the fear at the root of North Korean society.”
“[Suki] Kim clearly believes the good knowledge can do outweighs the risk. Her memoir, if nothing else, is a reminder of the costs of such work. Her portraits of her students are tender and heartbreaking, highlighting the enormity of what is at stake.”
“‘The Interpreter” is one of those titles, much like ‘The Stranger’ or ‘The Passenger,’ that immediately connote a state of moody suspension.”