The Accusation is no ordinary short story collection. The manuscript was written by a North Korean citizen who goes by the pseudonym Bandi, and it had to be smuggled out of the famously repressive and isolated country. It’s the only known manuscript by a living dissenter to make it out of North Korea and find a global readership, and its seven short stories take a harsh look at life inside the dictatorship.
The manuscript found its way to the outside world thanks largely to Do Hee-youn, an activist who campaigns for human rights in North Korea, The New York Times reports.
“In 2012, Mr. Do received an urgent call from fellow human rights activists in China: A North Korean woman had been caught by the Chinese police and was about to be extradited to the North, where she would certainly face time in a prison camp. Mr. Do raised cash to help her bribe her way out and to bring her to South Korea.”
The woman told Mr. Do that Bandi was a relative of hers who’d asked her to take his handwritten manuscript with her when she fled the country. She had refused due to the certainty of imprisonment if she were caught.
According to the Times, “She gave Bandi’s real name and his North Korean address to Mr. Do, who hired an ethnic Korean in China to travel to North Korea as a tourist and discreetly contact the writer. In 2013, the manuscript was smuggled out, hidden among works of propaganda glorifying Kim Il-sung, the country’s founding president and grandfather of the current leader, Kim Jong-un.”
The book was originally published by a conservative news site in South Korea. After North Korean exiles examined the manuscript and confirmed it must have been writing by a real North Korean citizen, The Accusation went on to be published in 20 countries and translated into 18 languages.
In the U.S., the book was published by Grove Press under the title The Accusation: Forbidden Stories From Inside North Korea. You can get your hands on the controversial book, here!
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