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Graphic Novel Depicts Surreal North Korea

When North Korea recently opened the door to foreign investment, cartoonist Guy Delisle became one of the few Westerners to witness current conditions in the capital city of Pyongyang. Delisle found himself in the city on a work visa for a French film animation company.

Delisle could only explore Pyongyang and its countryside if he was accompanied by his translator and a guide. Among the statues, portraits and propaganda of leaders Kim Il-Sung and his son Kim Jong-Il, Delisle observed the culture and lives of the few North Koreans he encountered. His musings on life in the regime form the basis of the graphic novel: Pyongyang: A Journey to North Korea.

Steve Inskeep speaks with Delisle about his work, his choice of coloring in his novel and what he really thinks is going on inside the heads of North Korean citizens.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.