Kindle Price: £3.98

Save £3.01 (43%)

includes VAT*
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.
kindle unlimited logo
Unlimited reading. Over 1 million titles. Learn more
Read for £0.00

These promotions will be applied to this item:

Some promotions may be combined; others are not eligible to be combined with other offers. For details, please see the Terms & Conditions associated with these promotions.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Kindle App Ad
A River in Darkness: One Man's Escape from North Korea by [Ishikawa, Masaji]
Audible Narration

A River in Darkness: One Man's Escape from North Korea Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 350 customer reviews

See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition

Length: 174 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Audible Narration:
Audible Narration
Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible narration. Add narration for a reduced price of £3.49 after you buy the Kindle book.

Black Friday Sale
Up to 70% off on over 100 Kindle Books, until 23rd November 2018. Shop now

From the Editor

When I read headlines about North Korea, the first thing that comes to mind is a cartoonish image of the country’s leader projected on large screens in front of military displays, bragging about testing nuclear weapons. But what about the normal people like you and me? It’s difficult to imagine the challenges they face while raising families, while living their everyday lives. Enter Masaji Ishikawa, who has risked his safety and the safety of his family—if any of them remain alive—to come forward with a daring story of escape.

Only a few scraps of information make their way across the barbed-wire borders of nations and ideologies that divide us from North Korea. Add the physical distance and it’s clear why we don’t automatically feel a kinship with people living in Pyongyang, Dong Chong-ri or Wonsan. But A River in Darkness breathed life into the ‘enemy’, revealing warmth, humanity and dignity in the face of a man we come to know well. Mr Ishikawa has lost everything, but he holds out hope that at least one of his sons is alive—and that, perhaps, if more people know his story, his son might learn that his dad is alive and safe in Japan.

It is my hope that by sharing this story with you I will share the empathy that overwhelmed me while reading. What do we do with this new-found connection to our fellow human beings—those living next door as well as those living across the world? Perhaps we will all feel encouraged to promote peace in our neighbourhoods, vote for things we believe in, reach out to those in need and realize that there are always real people involved in current events—some of them fathers who go to bed each night dreaming of reconnecting with their sons.

- Gabriella Page-Fort, Editor

Product description


“A terrifying true story of life in North Korea…Told in simple prose, this is a shocking and devastating tale of a country’s utter contempt for its citizens.” Kirkus Reviews

“In his achingly straightforward memoir, Ishikawa vividly describes the horrendous conditions that the tyrannical and cultish state inflicts on its people…Ishikawa relates his painful story with sardonic humor and unwavering familial love even in the depths of despair, making human the often impersonal news coverage of mysterious and threatening North Korea.” Booklist (starred review)

“Like Kang Chol-hwan’s The Aquariums of Pyongyang (2001)—the book that spurred President George W. Bush’s commitment to helping the people of North Korea—Mr. Ishikawa’s…descriptions of North Korean poverty are chilling, as are his accounts of the corruption and repression that dominated every aspect of life there…searing, swiftly paced.” Wall Street Journal

“Masaji Ishikawa was born in Japan to a Korean father but repatriated as a boy to the supposed paradise of North Korea. Newly translated into English, this account of his life and appalling times should become a classic.” South China Morning Post

“We often turn to books to help us understand people, experiences, and worldviews different from our own. If you’re looking to further your education in 2018, pick up A River in Darkness: One Man’s Escape from North Korea. In his memoir, translated from Japanese, Masaji Ishikawa recounts his turbulent childhood and life under a totalitarian regime in North Korea. Yes, you’ll learn about the country’s politics, leaders, and economy. But more importantly, you’ll learn about the people who live there and what it’s like to be on the lower end of the social hierarchy.” —HelloGiggles

“Compulsively readable and heart-wrenching, A River in Darkness reveals the daily cruelty of North Korea’s government to its poorest people. In this memoir, the victim is a young Japanese-born Korean who settles in the North with his parents, only to endure privation and abuse, as those he loves die of exhaustion, hunger, and loss of hope.” —Blaine Harden, New York Times bestselling author of Escape from Camp 14 and King of Spies: The Dark Reign of America’s Spymaster in Korea

About the Author

Born in 1947 in Kawasaki, Japan, Masaji Ishikawa moved with his parents and three sisters to North Korea in 1960 at the age of thirteen, where he lived until his escape in 1996. He currently resides in Japan.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3144 KB
  • Print Length: 174 pages
  • Publisher: AmazonCrossing (1 Jan. 2018)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 350 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #699 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  • Would you like to tell us about a lower price?

350 customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Review this product

Share your thoughts with other customers

Read reviews that mention

Showing 1-6 of 350 reviews

1 December 2017
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
50 people found this helpful
Comment Report abuse
2 December 2017
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
13 people found this helpful
Comment Report abuse
1 January 2018
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
4 people found this helpful
Comment Report abuse
19 April 2018
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
2 people found this helpful
Comment Report abuse
1 January 2018
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
2 people found this helpful
Comment Report abuse
28 October 2018
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

Would you like to see more reviews about this item?

click to open popover

Where's My Stuff?

Delivery and Returns

Need Help?