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Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy…

Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea (original 2003; edition 2007)

by Guy Delisle (Author), Helge Dascher (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,413618,619 (3.95)131
One of the few Westerners granted access to North Korea documents his observations of the secretive society in this graphic travelogue that depicts the cultural alienation, boredom, and desires of ordinary North Koreans.
Title:Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea
Authors:Guy Delisle (Author)
Other authors:Helge Dascher (Translator)
Info:Drawn and Quarterly (2007), Ausgabe: 1st, 176 Seiten
Collections:Your library
Tags:graphic novel, propaganda, autobiografie, nordkorea, lang:en

Work details

Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle (2003)

  1. 132
    Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick (lorax)
    lorax: Pyongyang is an outsider's view of the one part of the country where foreigners are generally permitted; Nothing to Envy is an inside look at ordinary life elsewhere in the country where the situation is even grimmer.
  2. 60
    Burma Chronicles by Guy Delisle (2810michael)
  3. 20
    Shenzhen by Guy Delisle (Ashles)
  4. 10
    Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City by Guy Delisle (Serviette)
  5. 10
    The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (LokiAesir)
  6. 00
    Une vie chinoise, Tome 1 : Le temps du père by Kunwu Li (Henrik_Madsen)
  7. 00
    Siberiak: My Cold War Adventure on the River Ob by Jenny Jaeckel (legxleg)
    legxleg: Both are graphic novel memoirs about trips to foreign countries. Please note that Siberiak is about the author's experiences as a teenager while the narrator of Pyongyang is an adult, and I think that their ages do necessarily inform their experiences.

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» See also 131 mentions

English (49)  French (3)  Spanish (3)  Finnish (2)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (61)
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
Only reason I gave this 4 instead of 5 stars is because it’s too short and I would like more of it. Guy’s adventures are fascinating as always! ( )
  Alliebadger | Jan 18, 2020 |
I'm not sure how to review a graphic novel, having read so few of them. This one was funny and accurate; by accurate I mean that his depiction of North Korea ran true to my experience of South Korea in 1972-74. What I didn't understand was the jumpiness of the frames, which sometimes felt out of order. ( )
  MaryHeleneMele | May 6, 2019 |
Beautifully written and illustrated memoir of a time spent in an upside-down culture. ( )
  cluckily | Jan 5, 2019 |
I read this book because my son was assigned it for AP World History and I thought it might be interesting. Not that interesting. I don't particularly like graphic novels. I felt like not that much information was given. And it was only mildly interesting. ( )
  KamGeb | Oct 24, 2018 |
I wouldn't go so far as other reviewers to say this book is racist, but I do understand criticisms of cultural insensitivity and misogyny. It's subtle, but I felt it. Aside from that, Delisle tells a good "Lost In Translation" type story. I think the mistake was giving too much insight into what the main character was thinking/feeling. I'm not a big reader of the graphic novel genre, but I think this one was done well. A few times I got lost at scene changes. Some sort of chunking with section breaks would have been nice. ( )
  StefanieBrookTrout | Feb 4, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
I appreciated seeing such a personal view of a country I’ll never visit. I love comics that can expand my boundaries this way.
Delisle's evocative pencil drawings are suited to depicting a colourless, twilight world in which the state is all, with his rudimentary characters inhabiting vast and much more detailed architectural environments. Less well drawn are the inner lives of Pyongyang's citizens.
added by stephmo | editThe Guardian, David Thompson (Oct 15, 2006)
North Korea is a country suffering in more ways than the author makes note of and I’m sure any reader could surmise this from his account, but rather than mine the heart of this suffering, Delisle achieves the literary equivalent of hiding a paraplegic’s wheelchair.
So while Pyongyang reads like cartoonist Craig Thompson’s breezy and introspective European travel diary, Carnet de Voyage, its content dictates that it be filed beside political artist Joe Sacco’s hard-hitting, from-the-trenches graphic novels about Sarajevo and Palestine – minus the first-hand accounts of violence, drama, and abject poverty. Because while a city can’t cry for help, maybe the odd cartoonist can act as a proxy.
This is a graphic novel so well crafted that the text begins to work as secondary illustration: propaganda begins to flow freely from each cell, like the canned music and broadcast exhortations that trail into the 15th floor hotel rooms; a small frame exchange between Delisle and his handlers perfectly sets up a full-page illustration of the dialogue’s own irony.

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Guy Delisleprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dascher, HelgeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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From Amazon: From Publishers Weekly-

In 2001, French-Canadian cartoonist Delisle traveled to North Korea on a work visa to supervise the animation of a children's cartoon show for two months. While there, he got a rare chance to observe firsthand one of the last remaining totalitarian Communist societies. He also got crappy ice cream, a barrage of propaganda and a chance to fly paper airplanes out of his 15th-floor hotel window. Combining a gift for anecdote and an ear for absurd dialogue, Delisle's retelling of his adventures makes a gently humorous counterpoint to the daily news stories about the axis of evil, a Lost in Translation for the Communist world. Delisle shifts between accounts of his work as an animator and life as a visitor in a country where all foreigners take up only two floors of a 50-story hotel. Delisle's simple but expressive art works well with his account, humanizing the few North Koreans he gets to know (including "Comrade Guide" and "Comrade Translator"), and facilitating digressions into North Korean history and various bizarre happenings involving brandy and bear cubs. Pyongyang will appeal to multiple audiences: current events buffs, Persepolis fans and those who just love a good yarn.
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