Susan McClelland,Lucia Jang

Stars between the Sun and Moon

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A striking memoir of hope in the face of persecution, Stars between the Sun and Moon is the first true account written by a North Korean woman to survive human trafficking to China and imprisonment in a labour camp.Born in the seventies in North Korea, Lucia Jang grew up in a typical household—her parents worked in the factories, and the family scraped by on government rations of rice and what little food they could grow in their small garden. Every night before bed, Jang dusted the frame around the portrait of Kim Il Sung, as her little sister looked on. When done, they would both bow and say: “Thank you, father.”But for the secretive nation, it was the beginning of a chaotic period that would see the death of “the eternal leader” and the uncontested rise to power of his son, Kim Jong-Il. The country would face a decade-long famine resulting in more than a million dead. In this bleak landscape, Jang marries young, to a hard-drinking and abusive man who sells their baby son for 300 wan and two bars of soap. Powerless to get her child back, Jang dedicates herself to helping her parents and siblings survive the famine. Undertaking more and more drastic measures, she finds herself trading goods in a border town between China and North Korea, where she is trafficked into an unlawful marriage. Although she runs away, Jang has no choice but to keep illegally returning to China and is imprisoned multiple times. She becomes pregnant again, and determined not to lose another child, Jang flees her home country once and for all, crossing a river with her infant nestled in a plastic bag.With a keen memory for the details of life within an idiosyncratic and dangerous regime, this memoir reflects the range of experiences many North Korean women have endured—loss of a child, starvation, imprisonment, trafficking—but it is Lucia Jang’s extraordinary will to live and to protect her family that drives her past every obstacle in a stunning demonstration of love and courage.
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265 printed pages
Original publication
2014

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