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The strange, spare contents of a North Korean bookstore
The strange, spare contents of a North Korean bookstore

The Portuguese writer Jose Luis Peixoto saw many strange things on his visit to Pyongyang, North Korea. A grocery store with a box of onions, kimchi and not much else on offer (“No pictures, please!”). And the first hamburger joint in Pyongyang, where there were just 12 people in line (all from his tour group), and he waited an hour for his food. Peixoto is the author of the novels “Blank Gaze” and “The Implacable Order of Things,” the titles of which coincidentally offer apt descriptions of his 2012 visit to the Hermit Kingdom. This month the journal Ninth Letter is publishing serialized excerpts of his North Korea travelogue on its website. In...

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