The PhD can wait – because North Korea won’t

Alison in Wonderland, Observant, Maastricht

I have a thing for books about wacky countries, and North Korea is getting weirder by the minute. Nothing to Envy I just could not put down. It tells of a doctor who crossed the border into China and, lost in the dark, found herself in a peasant’s dog kennel. She could not believe her eyes: in the kennel was a bowl of white rice. For the dog! You know your country has some problems when even Chinese peasants’ dogs eat better than you. Anyway, The Aquariums of Pyongyang was good, Escape from Camp 14 was thrilling, so imagine my joy today when I discovered Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader, billed as ‘simply the best book ever written about North Korea’ – all 874 pages of it. Have patience, PhD.

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