The Good Cook

November 1, 2009

"REFLECTIONS about a woman who survived the famine in North Korea during the nineteen-nineties. Song Hee-suk (whose name has been changed) was a model citizen of North Korea. Mrs. Song raised four children while working ten-hour shifts six days a week at the day-care center of the Chosun Clothing Factory...By 1998, it is estimated, between six hundred thousand and two million North Koreans had died as a result of the famine, as much as ten per cent of the population. Mrs. Song adapted quickly to South Korea. She was by no means an apologist for the North Korean regime, but she did profess a certain nostalgia for the idealism that used to propel her out of bed early to dust the portrait of Kim Il-sung."