THE AC­CU­SA­TION by Bandi, Allen & Un­win.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - FILM MAKER -

In the “fath­om­less dark­ness” of North Korea is a coura­geous writer, a man who calls him­self Bandi, mean­ing “fire­fly”. He se­cretly wrote these sto­ries in the fi­nal six years of the rule of Kim Il-sung, and smug­gled them out to ex­pose the cor­rup­tion, cru­elty and ab­sur­dity of life un­der the dic­ta­tor­ship. His prose is fear­less and vivid. When a cuckoo crows, it cries out “as if chok­ing on a clot of blood”. One story ex­am­ines the far­ci­cal mourn­ing of the death of Kim Il-sung. Agents mon­i­tor vis­its and grief lev­els at hun­dreds of al­tars com­mem­o­rat­ing the Dear Leader. Even three months on when “ev­ery flower bed in the city has been stripped bare” and people are starv­ing for lack of ra­tions, they’re so scared they ven­ture far afield dur­ing the mon­soon to hunt for of­fer­ings. It’s a poignant peek into the tyranny of to­tal­i­tar­i­an­ism.

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