The Girl with Seven Names

A North Korean Defector’s Story
Narrated by: Josie Dunn
Length: 10 hrs and 48 mins
4.8 out of 5 stars (853 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best seller

An extraordinary insight into life under one of the world’s most ruthless and secretive dictatorships - and the story of one woman’s terrifying struggle to avoid capture/repatriation and guide her family to freedom.

As a child growing up in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee was one of millions trapped by a secretive and brutal communist regime. Her home on the border with China gave her some exposure to the world beyond the confines of the Hermit Kingdom and, as the famine of the 1990s struck, she began to wonder, question and realise that she had been brainwashed her entire life. Given the repression, poverty and starvation she witnessed surely her country could not be, as she had been told, 'the best on the planet'?

Aged 17, she decided to escape North Korea. She could not have imagined that it would be 12 years before she was reunited with her family.

©2019 Hyeonseo Lee (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"The most riveting TED talk ever." (Oprah) 

"Hyeonseo Lee brought the human consequences of global inaction on North Korea to the world's doorstep...Against all odds she escaped, survived, and had the courage to speak out." (Samantha Power, US representative to the UN) 

"This is a powerful story of an escapee from North Korea. In the hallowed meeting rooms of the United Nations in New York, ambassadors from North Korea recently sought to shout down stories like this. But these voices will not be silenced. Eventually freedom will be restored. History will vindicate Hyeonseo Lee and those like her for the risks they ran so that their bodies and their minds could be free. And so that we could know the truth." (Michael Kirby, chair of the UN commission on human rights abuses in North Korea)

What listeners say about The Girl with Seven Names

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    4 out of 5 stars

Did not like narrator

This was a great story, but the narrator was a total mismatch in my opinion. Her overdone British accent detracted from the story.

7 people found this helpful

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Could not stop reading

What bravery and perseverance. So inspiring! The details were riveting. I am recommending everyone to read this book.

3 people found this helpful

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loved this story.

The narrator didn't bother me at all. The story was mesmerizing, fascinating. An almost unbelievable true story.

3 people found this helpful

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A Twofer- Page-Turner and Eye-Opener

Be careful when you start listening - this memoir is really hard to cut off. I kept wanting to learn what happened next. In this powerful memoir, the author, as a teen, inadvertently winds up stuck on the Chinese side of the North Korean border and has to build her own life. Her intelligence, love of family, and courage guide her through a most challenging journey. I learned a lot about North Korean life and culture as well as the indomitable nature of the human spirit. I have also listened to "A River in Darkness: One Man's Escape from North Korea," a memoir by Masaji Ishikawa. It is another powerful memoir about life in North Korea, as told by a man born in Japan, whose Korean father was enticed into going to North Korea with the promise of a better life. Unfortunately, the family finds themselves at the bottom in social status with no opportunity and life quickly becomes a nightmare unique to North Korea. My heart broke as I read this story and I pray Ishikawa is able to find peace in his soul after what he endured for so many years before escaping. These books are different. One ends in hope and the other in great sadness. Both help our understanding of North Korea, our world and ourselves. Both are "Must-reads."

2 people found this helpful

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Enthralling true story

This book held my attention throughout. There was an element of “what’s going to happen next” throughout! Danger, intrigue, was almost ever-present. I found myself thinking, “what would I do if in this circumstance?” I have so much admiration for the author, her keen mind, and heart. And there were miracles in this story, which I consider divine intervention and tender mercies of the Lord!

2 people found this helpful

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Spellbinding!!

unbelievable story. amazing immersion in a world I never even knew existed. And absolutely beautifully narrated by Josie Dunn. I just really can't recommend this audible book highly enough.

1 person found this helpful

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Amaxing, true epic

What is it like to escape North Korea as a teenager and then need to support oneself ? Hide your identity? Not see your mother or brother for more than 10 years? An amazing true story!

1 person found this helpful

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All Americans should read this book!

This woman is a true hero and it amazes me how tough she was. Her mother and brother are also heroes. Sitting in my comfortable home with my comfortable way of life it is scary to think that a whole country could be so brainwashed. The fact that North Korea has a nuclear arsenal is ghastly! We as a people must protect these freedoms at all costs and help other countries to recognize the freedoms they don’t have.

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The girl with an iron will and an open heart.

The story was intense, it is a look at life in the most secretive country in the world and how one family escaped the land and then it’s ideology.

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Very Captivating

I listened from beginning to end. Very inspiring and heart wrenching. A story of curiosity, courage, love and family values. Amazingly done.