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The Girl with Seven Names Summary

Hyeonseo Lee

The Girl with Seven Names

by Hyeonseo Lee

The Girl with Seven Names

Hyeonseo Lee

Clock Icon5 min
Insight Icon3 key insights
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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.

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The Girl with Seven Names

by Hyeonseo Lee

The Girl with Seven Names

Hyeonseo Lee

Overview

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

In this harrowing memoir, the author describes her escape from North Korea, her life as an illegal immigrant in China, and her perilous journey 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.

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Favorite Quote

"My father wasn't coming out of the house... He emerged, running toward us, coughing his lungs up. He was blackened by smoke... 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

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The Girl with Seven Names

Hyeonseo Lee

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