The Joy Brigade

p 16 “Despite its name, the Korean Demilitarized Zone – or DMZ – is the most heavily militarized border in the world.”

For the past decade – it is true! –  I have been out of tune with myself in ways only known to my Self. I am the piano in need of tuning where the key is slightly off kilter, the sound that forces a grimace as the hands slide over those in-tune, as this amateur pianist tries to disguise the blatant ear ache. You wonder, “Why is she sharing this random observation with me? Why here, on this book blog?”  

The Joy Brigade may just be a turning point. The change is marked with this paperback title, this very one exchanged, one for another at a Little Free Library. Previously unknown to me, it is one title in the series about Sergeant George Sueño that is set in post Korean War territory, both South and North, near the DMZ. Despite its’ eight predecessors this storyline is easy to grasp. Moreover, while the main character is military in his training, there is enough development that one can feel a kinship, if not direct empathy, for his situation.

To answer the above self-question, I offer this: During an entire semester, I directed my middle-school students in the study of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and world-wide violations.  Always at the forefront of the projects is North Korea; always, despite their rigorous research, I find it so very difficult to grasp the unreality of life there. This book, this very one, sat in that small wooden box waiting- who knows how long – for me. Besides writing a good mystery/thriller, author Martin Limón manages to transform the surreal to the visceral; the phobic world of North Korea becomes three dimensional.  Since I do not believe in coincidence, I am grateful to this small inkling of being in-step with my Self once again. One step at a time from a most unexpected place.

Limón, Martin. The Joy Brigade. SoHo Crime, 2012. Print.



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