Pyongyang is in stores now! : The new Guy Delisle reissue
Guy Delisle's travelogue about working and living in the North Korean capital for two months, Pyongyang, is officially back in print! The book, which we first published in 2005, has sold over 75,000 copies and continues to be be one of D+Q's perennial bestsellers because we Westerners have unending curiosity about North Korea. Anyone who hasn't had the pleasure of reading Pyongyang can grab a copy now!
Pyongyang was almost adapted into a movie with Steve Carrell playing Guy's character and Gore Verbinsky directing, but the film was canceled in the wake of the North Korean hack of The Interview. Nevertheless, Verbinsky has written an introduction for our reissue, making his fondness for the book very clear. "Observing the human condition in a strange land with a skill set uniquely suited to convey the absurdity of the mundane," writes Verbinsky. "Guy reduces the amplitude to get underneath the narrative and break down a belief system into something infinitely relatable."
What's so engaging about Pyongyang is its depiction of everyday life in North Korea, as well as the unvarnished absurdity of reality there. Delisle isn't entering the country solely as a spectator—he's there to work and happens to have the opportunity of experiencing the culture as he goes about his business every day. Delisle is able to make real aspects of life in the Hermit Country in a way that would be impossible in a book of prose: the positioning of portraits of the Great Leader on the walls of each room, for instance. Or the scale of the monuments and primarily-just-for-show subway system.
Delisle's sardonic but ever-curious avatar of himself observes the country's customs with a genuine curiosity, tackling the petty frustrations of life in a totalitarian regime with a sense of humor that makes his experiences all the more relatable.
The new and expanded Pyongyang is available now at your local bookstore or comic book shop!