a staggering look inside a demonic country. I can only assume that most of it is true. the very facelessness of the oppressed people is used masterfully by Johnson-- characters are doubled and find themselves vying against versions of themselves created by the state to thwart their spirit -- which I found narratively challenging. but his landscape and emotional atmosphere is fantatically conjured-- he creates a North Korea so rich in human breath and foible, where for me before there was nothing but a cipher. Incredible achievement of a novel. Not even funny, how unusual a thing he has conjured not out of thin air, but out of strange, distant, inaccessible air.