As cameras are not allowed in North Korea, Pyongyang is a perfect example of the power of the graphic novel medium.Delisle's critically acclaimed memoir captures his two months spent in North Korea as an animator. As one of the few Westerners who is able to visit the country, without an overt political agenda, he is able to gain personal insight into one of the most secretive nations on the planet. He wants to learn about North Korean culture, but his omnipresent guides restrict him at every turn. Delisle tries to answer the neverending question: do the people support their government or are they too scared to revolt?
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Guy Delisle was born in Quebec City in 1966 and has spent the last decade living and working in France. He has written and drawn four graphic novels, including Shenzhen, an account of his travels to China. Pyongyang is his first in English.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. (Sept.)
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