The main character is an older judge whose main interest is in preventing couples from divorcing whenever he can. Judge Jeong Jin Wu is a thoughtful, sympathetic, and good-hearted man who refuses to put his stamp on a divorce until he is sure the marriage can’t be saved, in this case that of a famous soprano and a factory lathe operator. The novel is state-sanctioned and adheres to Party doctrine; in the latter part of the book obvious propaganda is blended into the plot. Nevertheless we learn something of what is expected of North Korean citizens in their relations with each other through the several plotlines in Friend.
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