Orphan Master's Son (Hardcover)

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    A New York Times Bestseller, The Orphan Master's Son is one of the most difficult stories I have ever read. By difficult, I mean the story line - full of violence and torture. If I had not read the non-fiction book, Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick first, I would never have thought a story like this might be near the truth. Having said that, it will be a book I won't forget! The story takes place in current day North Korea, and follows the life of Pak Jun Do who was brought up in an orphanage. His father was the Orphan Master. Through fate and recognition as a gifted young man by the superiors in the government, he is assigned various duties including kidnapping Japanese citizens for "The Dear Leader"-Kim Jung Il, intercepting and translating American radio transmissions, being given a mission to Texas as a translator, and being recognized as an imposter of a well-known general. A tale of many twists and turns with countless deceptions, it may, nevertheless be possible in a totalitarian regime who has starved millions of its own people. By focusing on one life, it becomes even more real. If you can stomach the violence ( I skimmed many of those parts), you will find a potent, skillfully written novel based on historical fact.

— Karen L.

Fall '12 Reading Group List


“Sometimes we say that a book tries to be too many things. This thought-provoking novel is many things -- an adventure tale, an examination of identity and the nature of the self, a meta-narrative, a political novel, a love story, a survivor story, and more -- and it succeeds on all counts. Like the works of David Mitchell, The Orphan Master's Son is at once a joy to read, a challenging work, and, ultimately, a terrific and satisfying story.”
— Mark LaFramboise, Politics & Prose Books and Coffee Shop, Washington, DC

January 2012 Indie Next List


“Sometimes we say that a book tries to be too many things. This thought-provoking novel is many things - an adventure tale, an examination of identity and the nature of the self, a meta-narrative, a political novel, a love story, a survivor story, and more - and it succeeds on all counts. Like the works of David Mitchell, The Orphan Master's Son is at once a joy to read, a challenging work, and ultimately, a terrific and satisfying story.”
— Mark LaFramboise, Politics & Prose Books and Coffee Shop, Washington, DC

Description


"NEW YORK TIMES "BESTSELLER
"A daring and remarkable novel."--Michiko Kakutani, "The New York Times "
Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother--a singer "stolen" to Pyongyang--and an influential father who runs a work camp for orphans. Superiors in the state soon recognize the boy's loyalty and keen instincts. Considering himself "a humble citizen of the greatest nation in the world," Jun Do rises in the ranks. He becomes a professional kidnapper who must navigate the shifting rules, arbitrary violence, and baffling demands of his Korean overlords in order to stay alive. Driven to the absolute limit of what any human being could endure, he boldly takes on the treacherous role of rival to Kim Jong Il in an attempt to save the woman he loves, Sun Moon, a legendary actress "so pure, she didn't know what starving people looked like."
In this epic, critically acclaimed tour de force, Adam Johnson provides a riveting portrait of a world rife with hunger, corruption, and casual cruelty but also camaraderie, stolen moments of beauty, and love.
"Gripping . . . Deftly blending adventure, surreal comedy and "Casablanca"-style romance, the novel takes readers on a jolting ride through an Orwellian landscape of dubious identity and dangerous doublespeak."--"San Jose Mercury News"
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"This is a novel worth getting excited about. . . . Adam Johnson has taken the papier-mache creation that is North Korea and turned it into a real and riveting place that readers will find unforgettable."--"The Washington Post"
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" A] brilliant and timely novel."--"The Wall Street Journal"
"Remarkable and heartbreaking . . . To the] very short list of exceptional novels that also serve a humanitarian purpose "The Orphan Master's Son" must now be added."--"The New Republic"
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"A triumph of imagination . . . Grade: ] A."--"Entertainment Weekly"
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"A spellbinding saga of subverted identity and an irrepressible love."--"Vogue"

About the Author


Adam Johnson teaches creative writing at Stanford University. His fiction has appeared in "Esquire, The Paris Review, Harper's, Tin House, Granta, " and "Playboy, " as well as "The Best American Short Stories." His other works include" Emporium, " a short-story collection, and the novel" Parasites Like Us." He lives in San Francisco.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780857520555
Publisher: Doubleday Books
Publication Date: February 1st, 2012
 

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