In the last post: Morris makes ready to search for magic toadstools, and suddenly doesn't feel so brave...
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Eerie Eve ® James Field. Part 11
The clouds had begun to clear, and a bleached-white moon gave the wooded landscape an eerie glow. Alf had to admit, the forest had a freakish atmosphere that he'd never experienced before. A mouse darted from a hole in the ground and ran around his boots, followed by a horde of mice. A flush of adrenaline tingled through Alf's body, making him curse and kick out.
No need to get jumpy, he rebuked himself. This wasn't the first time he'd heard legends of trolls in these woods; but if anyone asked him, he’d tell them those legends were a load of old poppycock. On this night, if a troll were to stomp through the forest, he’d have to mimic one himself, which is what he’d planned. He clenched his fists and bunched his muscles; Morris was about to witness the dreaded troll.
At long last he saw Morris leave his tent and grope his way into the forest. He carried the wicker basket in his left hand and a torch with a piercing beam in his right. A fox howled somewhere close and Morris stopped dead. He shone his torch in all directions and Alf could see that his nostrils were open wide, as if to catch a whiff of danger. Ha! He doesn't feel so sure of himself now, thought Alf, and rubbed his hands with glee.
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A River in Darkness: One Man's Escape from North Korea by Masaji Ishikawa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
To save the jobs of those in the Japanese government who helped him escape, Masaji Ishikawa wrote: “…obviously I wasn’t going to start talking to the press.” Instead, he wrote this mammoth best-selling book? Sorry, but I don’t believe this man’s autobiography can be true. If it is, then he is likely responsible for the sacking of those government officials who helped his return to Japan, and worse, expose his family to torture or execution in North Korea.
It may well be that he moved to North Korea in 1960, aged thirteen, where he lived until his escape in 1996. However, I rather believe his memoir is an over dramatised collection of exaggerated incidents he picked up from others. In which case, good for him.
I hope this is the case; otherwise, he puts himself in a poor light. From his book, he already comes across as egoistic, beating up anyone who upsets him and often leaving his family to starve while he runs off to find work to feed himself.
North Korea is undoubtedly not an agreeable place to live, but propaganda and false news flourish. The story in this book is captivating and mind-bogglingly tragic, hence four stars. I just don’t accept Mr Ishikawa’s life was as awful, or maybe I don’t want to believe, as he relates.
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