Joseph Kimmelmann, a graduate of the Jackson School of International Relations, Korean Studies Program, is greeted at the Pyongyang Airport by two North Korean ‘minders,’ who accompany him virtually everywhere he goes during his visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the so-called, ‘Hermit Kingdom.’
Joseph represents Castle, a venture capital firm that wrings profits out of distressed properties, and Pyongyang’s Ryugyong Hotel, under construction for twenty-six years, is as distressed as they come. But Castle Ventures has no intention of helping the DPRK finance the hotel. Instead, Joseph is in Pyongyang to spy on potential competitors. But Joseph has another mission in North Korea, a ‘small favor’ he agreed to do for the CIA.
It only takes Joseph a few days to learn that flaunting the prohibitions placed on foreign visitors by North Korea is an extremely dangerous game. It takes him a little longer to realize just how foolish he’s been in coming to North Korea, let alone in associating himself with the ‘American imperialistic’ CIA.
“The Reunification of Joseph K” is the story of a flawed young man’s introduction to a culture he thought he knew. A culture he studied in great detail, becoming fluent in its language and, he thought, in its customs. But despite his advanced degree, Joseph’s appreciation for the ‘cult of Kim,’ is sadly deficient and he is ill-prepared for the elaborate scheme the People’s Republic has hatched to thumb its nose at America, a scheme in which he, Joseph Kimmelmann, is the pawn.
In many respects, The Reunification of Joseph K is reminiscent of Franz Kafka’s “The Trial.” Like his namesake, Josef K, Joseph Kimmelmann is conspired against and prosecuted by inaccessible authorities, but unlike Kafka’s unfortunate protagonist, Joseph Kimmelmann knows why he’s being punished, and he’s willing to try anything to escape his fate.
Available in the Amazon.com Kindle Store on November 5, 2013