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Literature Review: The Accusation by Bandi

THE PAST SEVERAL years have brought many surprises out of North Korea, but one that has perhaps received less attention from  Western media is the publication of The Accusation: Forbidden Stories from Inside North Korea. The Accusation is a collection of short stories that were penned by a North Korean author, under the pseudonym of Bandi. 

Each of Bandi’s stories, completed between 1989 and 1995, follows a different cast of characters in a different part of North Korea under the rule of Kim Il-sung. Readers see the North’s regime through the eyes of a loving grandmother bent on visiting her pregnant daughter, a border sentry forced to participate in theater for a military arts festival, and a reporter profiling the chief technician of a struggling bean paste factory, to name a few. These stories are works of fiction, but together they paint a portrait of a real country permeated by contradictions and pain.

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