Thursday, December 9, 2010

Inspector O to Those Who Would Intervene in North Korea

James Church, pseudonymous Western intelligence officer turned mystery novelist, in the second of his great series, Hidden Moon, puts into the mouth of his North Korean detective hero an argument against intervention in a retort to a Western spy caught attempting to destablize the country:
    "This isn't about you, Inspector, it's about something bigger. The future of your country. Your people's future."

    "You have no idea what you are talking about, do you? You're just reciting some crap they handed you at a briefing. My country's future? Forgive me, Superindendent, I don't know anything that flourishes when it's washed in blood. Let's not float away on visions of the future... What happens here is not yours to worry about. It's for us, it's our business, our future, our fate."
Once again, I cannot recommend this series highly enough: Kafkaesque noir where detectives have to first figure out whether "the Center" even wants the case solved or not, where non-persons vanish in non-events, where no one trusts anyone else, where a wrong word can get you sent on the back of a truck to a camp in the mountains or worse, all this with a sypathetic existential hero protagonist who spouts traditional (and subversive) Korean wisdom he learned from his grandfather.

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.