Deux Coréennes is the story of a North Korean refugee and a South Korean writer living in the United Kingdom. As the two women experience sisterhood and trust, they attempt to identify how their respective brainwashing has affected the way they see each other – and the world.
Twice Jihyun will leave the land of the “socialist miracle” to escape famine and dictatorship. The first time, she will abandon her father on his deathbed, only to find herself sold into slavery in China before being forced to return to North Korea. The second time, she will escape from a North Korean prison and return to China to seek her son. In 2008, at long last, she finds safe haven in the United Kingdom.
Understated, devoid of pathos, this story reveals a Korea far removed from the talk of nuclear weapons and economic sanctions. Positive and hopeful in spite of all the hardships she’s endured, Jihyun gives us a detailed account of the family who bears the serial number 256. Recalling life’s tiny pleasures amidst terrible suffering, she manages to instil her tale with touches of grace.
The unique voices of these two Korean women invite the reader to share in the emotions born of genuine dialogue. In writing this book, they share the memories of a devastating period in history and ensure it will not be forgotten. That one woman is from the North and the other from the South matters little: they share not only a language, but a legacy was well, and one they wish to hand down. Together.