The Orphan Master’s Son

Adam Johnson. Random, $26 (458p) ISBN 978-0-8129-9279-3
Johnson’s novel accomplishes the seemingly impossible: an American writer has masterfully rendered the mysterious world of North Korea with the soul and savvy of a native, from its orphanages and its fishing boats to the kitchens of its high-ranking commanders. While oppressive propaganda echoes throughout, the tone never slides into caricature; if anything, the story unfolds with astounding empathy for those living in constant fear of imprisonment—or worse—but who manage to maintain their humanity against all odds. The book traces the journey of Jun Do, who for years lives according to the violent dictates of the state, as a tunnel expert who can fight in the dark, a kidnapper, radio operator, tenuous hero, and foreign dignitary before eventually taking his fate into his own hands. In one of the book’s most poignant moments, a government interrogator, who tortures innocent citizens on a daily basis, remembers his own childhood and the way in which his father explained the inexplicable: “...we must act alone on the outside, while on the inside, we would be holding hands.” In this moment and a thousand others like it, Johnson (Parasites Like Us) juxtaposes the vicious atrocities of the regime with the tenderness of beauty, love, and hope. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/24/2011
Release date: 01/10/2012
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FORMATS
Open Ebook - 464 pages - 978-1-4481-0926-5
Hardcover - 781 pages - 978-1-4104-4828-6
Paperback - 456 pages
Compact Disc - 978-0-307-93969-2
Open Ebook - 443 pages - 978-0-679-64399-9
Compact Disc - 978-0-307-93971-5
Book - 1 pages - 978-0-307-93976-0
Paperback - 443 pages - 978-0-85752-056-2
Hardcover - 443 pages - 978-0-85752-055-5
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-09598-4
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