By Minsoo Kang I o Jintek and his wife Ri Sunja were both children of the Arduous March, the great North Korean famine of the 1990s. The horrors they had witnessed at the time revisited them again and again in their adulthood. There were nights when one of them would wake with a helpless cry, the mind recoiling from visions of ashen landscapes covered with piles of decaying corpses. In the fearful hours that followed, they silently held onto each other tightly until the warmth of their intimacy loosened the necromantic grip of their unwanted memories. Jintek came from the insignificant town of Woldong, in the northernmost province of Hamgyeong, but he was able to attend Kim Ilsung University in Pyongyang as his late great-grandfather had been a hero of the 1950 war and his father was a thirdgeneration party member with a solid position as an official in the provincial People's Committee. At the end of his third year as a law student, he made the long trip back home to make arrangements to marry his childhood sweetheart Sunja following graduation. Soon after he returned to Pyongyang, however, all of his plans for the future became lost
Azalea: Journal of Korean Literature & Culture – University of Hawai'I Press
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