KIM Pyung-gang was born in Pyongyang. She moved to Punggye-ri, along with her father, who was an officer in the Korean People’s Army. In this town turned into a nuclear weapons testing site, she met a scientist who will become her husband. When the latter eventually died from effects of radiation exposure, she decided to leave North Korea and crossed the border. She is now living in Seoul, South Korea.
« A North Korean female writer, who was married with a scientist specialized in nuclear power, is unveiling through her first novel what happened during 4 years in an area of underground nuclear weapon testing kept secret by the North Korean government. The author shares the cruelty she experienced there with the readers, raising various feelings such as stupefaction, rage and despair. »
KIM Sun-hee, Gomsi
Genre : Autobiographical Novel – Fiction
Topics : North Korea – Nuclear site – Army – secrets – Politic
In 1978, antiaircraft guns and tanks entered Punggye-ri, in the northern part of North Korea, one after another. The villagers chased away by the North Korean soldiers and their guns were soon replaced by workers and equipment. While the digging of tunnels shaked the Mantap mountain, the once virgin landscape was soon invaded by dark smoke and stench. The inhabitants of the region slowly started to die of unexplained and terrible diseases. Thirty years later, the North Korean government congratulated its nuclear power scientists for the successful explosion of a nuclear warhead. Meanwhile, the everlasting mountains, verdurous hills, and radiant lake were totally devastated, as well as the life of the inhabitants and scientists living there…
Pyunggyeri is a novel. Although it does not tell how the author managed to escape from North Korea, it offers an account of the hardness which the inhabitants of Punggye-ri had to face, once living in one of the most beautiful area of North Korea but turned into a nuclear weapon testing site. It shows as well the way scientists and their families were suddenly threatened by the arrival of the nuclear weapon. This novel is based on real events. The author, who could directly meet executives of the North Korean regime thanks to her father, is revealing some dangerous secrets hidden by the KIM family in a thrilling story blending facts and fiction. A novel directly linked with the current affairs.
« ‘The world is ignoring how many North Koreans died in underground tunnels, dug during more than thirty years and with a depth of more than thirty meters’, confessed the author. ‘I am sharing the history of Punggye-ri, once an area of virgin landscapes but destroyed by so many explosions.’ »
KIM Gye-yun, Yonhapnews, 04.10. 2017.
« This novel is condemning the nuclear weapon testing made by North Korea in one of the most beautiful natural site of the country, turned into ruins because of the craving of the dictators KIM family for nuclear weapon. ‘I am blaming the North Korean regime for perpetuating tragedies against humanity in our tiny Korean peninsula’, said the author. »
KIM Yung-hye, The Korea Defense Daily, 04. 10. 2017.
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