The Last Exiles: A Novel

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Life in North Korea is a daily exercise in desperation. Jin feels fortunate to be a student in Pyongyang, where he lives in relative comfort with his girlfriend, Suja. When Jin visits his family in their village and finds them starving, he is furious. Trying to rescue his family’s prized bag of cornmeal, he is caught and thrown into prison. A daring escape leads him to China, where he is forced to do whatever he can to survive. Unbeknownst to him, Suja hears of his escape and sets out to find him, also crossing into China. At the mercy of strangers, she is trafficked along with so many other North Korean girls into families seeking wives for their sons. She loses hope of finding Jin–even though, against all odds, her traumatic path is leading her ever closer to him.

The Last Exiles unflinchingly portrays the abuses “Northerns” as Suja and Jin suffer in China. The lack of options in their lives–accept the depravities of life in North Korea, or leave themselves vulnerable to unknown horrors elsewhere–makes this novel unrelentingly bleak. Yet it is a compelling glimpse into a world most outsiders will never fully understand. Readers will hope for the best for Jin and Suja, even as their futures seem unfortunately preordained.


Reviewed By:

Author Ann Shin
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 336 pages
Publisher HarperCollins
Publish Date 06-Apr-2021
ISBN 9780778389415
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue July 2021
Category Popular Fiction
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