A River In Darkness. March 2019

Rated 2.67 out of 5 based on 3 customer ratings
(3 customer reviews)

Half-Korean, half-Japanese, Masaji Ishikawa has spent his whole life feeling like a man without a country. This feeling only deepened when his family moved from Japan to North Korea when Ishikawa was just thirteen years old, and unwittingly became members of the lowest social caste. His father, himself a Korean national, was lured to the new Communist country by promises of abundant work, education for his children, and a higher station in society. But the reality of their new life was far from utopian.

In this memoir translated from the original Japanese, Ishikawa candidly recounts his tumultuous upbringing and the brutal thirty-six years he spent living under a crushing totalitarian regime, as well as the challenges he faced repatriating to Japan after barely escaping North Korea with his life. A River in Darkness is not only a shocking portrait of life inside the country but a testament to the dignity—and indomitable nature—of the human spirit.

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Reviews (3)

3 reviews for A River In Darkness. March 2019

  1. Rated 3 out of 5

    Melissa Bradford

    This is a fast easy read. You certainly get to know the author. He writes from his heart but it seems to lack depth and could have used a good editor. The reader wishes nothing but the best for the author and main character but he never seems to see the good in anything that is happening. I wish him nothing but the best and I hope the sales of his book help to get him whatever he wishes.

  2. Rated 4 out of 5


    This book was incredibly difficult to read. Every single word makes your heart ache, and leaves you hoping that maybe the next chapter will be better, that something good will finally happen to Mr. Ishikawa. Spoiler alert: nothing ever does. Even his escape leaves a bittersweet feeling. It makes your heart ache that something this horrible could have happened in modern society – and that it still happens. Though it’s not a book I would have chosen to read if not for the girly book club, I am glad that I read it, if only to step outside myself for a moment; I think it made me more grateful for the life that I have.

  3. Rated 1 out of 5

    Katherine Arthur

    This nonfiction book is a hard read. Spoiler alert. Do not expect a happy ending. I’m not sure I would star it at all. Ok, one star for the author’s anguish.

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