One day a book might be written about how this book came to published. Bandi is believed to be the pseudonym of a North Korean government official who has written these seven devastating stories showcasing the unreal life that people are forced to live in North Korea, a country which remains the world’s most politically inaccessible area under its sequence of dictators.
The writer of The Accusation remains anonymous for obvious reasons, and the stories are understood to have been hand-written and then smuggled out – like those who try to escape North Korea – to South Korea, where they were published without much attention, before gaining an international audience through the excellent translations of Man Booker International winner Deborah Smith.
An existence governed by strict and often bizarre rules is a form of existence that those who have to live under the shadow of religious fundamentalism are only too aware of. The stories in this book depict a version of that existence under totalitarian rule, showing what they can do to individuals. And yet, there seems to be hope.
Published in Korean in 2014. Translated into English by Deborah Smith in 2017.