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Wednesday, 19 September 2018

New D&Q: Pyongyang (new edition) by Guy Delisle


The new edition of Guy Delisle's Pyongyang is officially out today! First published in French in 2003 and in English (by Drawn & Quarterly) in 2005, Pyongyang is one of Guy Delisle’s most iconic travelogue comics, taking the reader on an unprecedented and wryly humorous docu-graphic tour of closed-off North Korea, where photography is restricted and journalists are forbidden. This book, which made Delisle's career, has been an international bestseller for over ten years.


More relevant than ever, Pyongyang has been freshly reissued with a new cover and an introduction by film director Gore Verbinski, who had hoped to adapt the book for the screen before the project was deemed too geopolitically volatile.


While living in the nation's capital for two months on a work visa, Delisle observed everything he was allowed to see of the culture and lives of the few North Koreans he encountered, bringing a sardonic and skeptical perspective on a place rife with propaganda. Delisle himself is the ideal foil for North Korean spin, the grumpy outsider who brought a copy of George Orwell’s 1984 with him into the totalitarian nation.


As a guide to the country, Delisle is a non-believer with a keen eye for the humor and tragedy of dictatorial whims, expressed in looming architecture and tiny, omnipresent photos of the President. The absurd vagaries of everyday life become fodder for a frustrated animator’s musings as boredom and censorship sink in.


Pyongyang is an informative, personal, and accessible look at a dangerous and enigmatic country which has recently been the target of the American presidency's unpredictable whims and inflammatory rhetoric. Read it today!


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