Before she met Il-sun at the orphanage, Gi was a hollow hunk of a girl, broken from having grown up in one of North Korea’s forced-labor camps.
A mathematical genius, she learned to cope with pain by retreating into a realm of numbers and calculations, an escape from both the past and the present. Gi becomes enamored of the brash and radiant Il-sun, but her friend’s pursuit of a better life imperils both girls when Il-sun’s suitor spirits them across the Demilitarized Zone and sells them as sex workers, first in South Korea and then in the United States.
The impressive debut depicts – with chilling accuracy – the harsh life behind North Korea’s iron curtain. But for Gi and Il-sun, forced into the underworld of human trafficking, their captivity outside North Korea is far crueler. In the face of mounting injustice, it’s Gi and Il-sun’s extraordinary resilience that gives this spellbinding story its power. All Woman and Springtime takes us into the dark heart of the most mysterious country on earth as it weaves a heartbreaking, breathtaking story.
Brandon W. Jones lives in Hawaii.