Friend, by Nam-Nyong Paek

Staff Pick

Set in 1980s North Korea, what seems like a prosaic story about marriage and family offers a compelling look into a culture that outsiders rarely see. The novel unfolds during a transitional period that sought to highlight the lives and achievements of ordinary citizens while also promoting self-improvement so that people could better serve the party. It is against this background that we are drawn into the lives of a divorcing couple who cannot settle their perceptions of their roles in society. The judge responsible for their divorce takes it upon himself to investigate whether their marriage indeed must be dissolved, and what follows is a thorough examination of the intricacies of relationships within North Korean society and how these relationships affect how one contributes to the party. 

Friend: A Novel from North Korea (Weatherhead Books on Asia) By Nam-Nyong Paek, Immanuel Kim (Translator) Cover Image
By Nam-Nyong Paek, Immanuel Kim (Translator)
ISBN: 9780231195614
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Columbia University Press - May 5th, 2020