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The Red Years


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Table of Contents

  • Preface Poem
  • 1. Barren Earth A New Arirang for the North
    • Green Leaves, Falling
    • Blizzard
    • Bloody Fall
    • A Maiden's Window
    • Song of the Fire Swallows
    • Chajabi (The Hitchhiker)
    • Ugly, White Snow
    • The Mill on the Mountain
    • New Seongcheon Station
  • 2. Exhausted Heart
    • Song of the Red People
    • Roundabout Blues
    • Toads
    • No Ingredients Blues
    • Idol
    • 50 Years of Red
    • Five Thieves Blues
    • Stepmother
    • The Song of Kim Juseok
    • Heartsick
    • Red Locomotive
    • Night at the Military Camp
    • Affliction in the Red House
  • 3. Longing for You, My Love
    • One Heart
    • Long, Long Winter Nights
    • Ah! KBS Educational Channel
    • My Love
    • How Much I Love You
    • Please Deliver Just This
    • Blow, South Wind
    • This Lonely Life
    • I Awaited You, My Love
  • 4. Attached to a Life
    • Youth is a Forking Road
    • O Azaleas
    • Song of Life
    • Pine Trees
    • Thoughts of Mother
    • Woman of Pure Love
    • Oak Tree in Winter
    • A Man
    • Your Lover
  • 5. Wishes
    • Bandi (Firefly)
    • Landscape White with Snow
    • Why I Love Wildflowers
    • Me for Myself
    • The Whistling Man
    • Today
    • The World Where People Live
    • Open-minded Life
    • Sow Love, Reap Love
    • A Dream
  • Afterword: Bandi's Dream - Do Hee-yun

About the Author

The author and poet known only as 'Bandi' (a pseudonym meaning 'firefly') spent his childhood in China before returning to North Korea, the country of his birth, as a young man. Initially writing for North Korean magazines, the focus of Bandi's writing changed forever after the deaths of many people close to him during the great famine of the 1990s. The experiences of this time made him resolve to share with the outside world a true likeness of the harsh North Korean society as he himself saw it. With the help of a relative, he was able to smuggle a collection of his poems and stories to South Korea. The first part of this manuscript achieved international acclaim when it was published as the short story collection The Accusation: Forbidden Stories From Inside North Korea (2018).


Praise for Bandi's The Accusation
'Fascinating and chilling. Heartfelt and heartbreaking.'Margaret Atwood
'A fierce indictment of life in the totalitarian North.'New York Times
'Powerful insights into a world behind walls.'Guardian
'Its very existence is still a hopeful symbol that change is inevitable, if not imminent.'Vice
'Spare, direct, unflinching and bitterly angry.'Observer
'Bandi [presents] a world in which North Koreans are nuanced: broken-hearted, idealistic, still full of life.'Times Literary Supplement
'Courageous and confounding ... It's a quiet privilege to be given access to the voiceless by listening to such vivid and uncompromised storytelling.'
New Statesman

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