Life on the Edge of the DMZ
Lee Si-Woo. Translated from the Korean by Myung-Hee Kim.
The author’s now celebrated quest, through narrative and photography, to capture today’s built and natural environment and way of life along the Min Tong Line (Demilitarized Zone – DMZ) separating the two Koreas, is both a stunning literary and photographic achievement. Supported by 150 colour photographs, the book by one of Korea’s renowned photographers who is also a well-known peace activist, takes the reader from Chulwon in the east to Kosung in the west, interweaving profoundly felt philosophical reflections on a wide variety of political, social and other issues, with detailed observations about the places he visits, including their myths and legends. The sense of yearning for the reunification of his divided country pervades the text. Life on the Edge of the DMZ provides the Western reader with a rare and dynamic connection to an often forgotten aspect of life, albeit ‘behind the scenes’, in contemporary Korea, and will have wide relevance at many levels in the study of modern Korea.