book hack
The Girl with Seven NamesBy Hyeonseo Lee

In a Nutshell

In her candid memoir, Hyeonseo Lee reveals the shocking propaganda and cruelty in North Korea, her unintended defection to China, and her long journey to South Korea.

Favorite quote

My father wasn't coming out of the house ... He emerged, running toward us, coughing his lungs up ... Under each arm he was holding two flat, rectangular objects. He wasn't thinking of our possessions, or our savings. He'd rescued the portraits.

Hyeonseo Lee


Hyeonseo Lee was born into a North Korean family of good standing and believed the propaganda the party dispensed to its citizens daily. North Korea's famine in the 1990s revealed a more brutal side to the country that Lee had loved as a young girl. Living in a North Korean city that bordered China where illegal trade was rampant, Lee became curious about what lay across the river.

In this 2015 memoir, Lee describes her escape from North Korea, her life as an illegal immigrant in China, and her perilous struggle across both physical and bureaucratic obstacles to reunite with her family. Now living in South Korea, Lee is a journalist at the Ministry of Unification who continues to work on behalf of the North Korean people.

Here are the 3 key insights from this Hack

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