Mint Literary Agency

Stars Between the Sun and Moon

Posted November 6, 2014

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. Afterwards, 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, and despite an unimaginable loss, Jang dedicates herself to helping her parents and siblings survive. Undertaking more and more drastic measures, she finds herself trafficked into an unlawful marriage and imprisoned multiple times. Eventually, Jang risks everything to flee her home country forever, crossing a river with her infant nestled in a plastic bag, determined to start a new life.

Filled with details about life within an idiosyncratic and dangerous regime, this memoir reflects the hardships 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.