Publish Date: 6/26/18
Author: Masaji Ishikawa
An Amazon Charts Most Read and Most Sold book.
The harrowing true story of one man’s life in—and subsequent escape from—North Korea, one of the world’s most brutal totalitarian regimes.
Half-Korean, half-Japanese, Masaji Ishikawa has spent his whole life feeling like a man without a country. This feeling only deepened when his family moved from Japan to North Korea when Ishikawa was just thirteen years old, and unwittingly became members of the lowest social caste. His father, himself a Korean national, was lured to the new Communist country by promises of abundant work, education for his children, and a higher station in society. But the reality of their new life was far from utopian.
In this memoir translated from the original Japanese, Ishikawa candidly recounts his tumultuous upbringing and the brutal thirty-six years he spent living under a crushing totalitarian regime, as well as the challenges he faced repatriating to Japan after barely escaping North Korea with his life. A River in Darkness is not only a shocking portrait of life inside the country but a testament to the dignity—and indomitable nature—of the human spirit.
I finished this a little while ago but have been struggling on how to fairly review it! I did enjoy the read but cannot talk smack, yes smack, about it just because I disliked the situations or ending because it’s a TRUE STORY!
I am always interested in Korea because my Grandpa fought in the Korean War. I feel like the war and time period is really forgotten. Although A River in Darkness doesn’t focus on the war on the specific time in the war, it’s a connection that is necessary to understand the United States entering the war.
I obviously understand the complexity of North Korea and it’s extremeness but this book still shocked me. The lifestyles explained were horrific, eye-opening, and heartbreaking. What Ishikawa and his family endured is hard to even wrap your head around. It’s hard to not literally believe what happened but believe that any of this has really been going on.
Although non-fiction, I find myself at a wall to be able to talk any more about the book without giving away the shock value of reading it yourself. I highly recommend this quick yet informative read. It left me in pieces.