Book Review:The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson


Published January 10th 2012 by Random House

ISBN

0812992792

Johnson, Adam - The Orphan Master's Son (2011 ARC)

Johnson, Adam – The Orphan Master’s Son (2011 ARC) (Photo credit: sdobie)

“Mr. Johnson has written a daring and remarkable novel, a novel that not only opens a frightening window on the mysterious kingdom of North Korea, but one that also excavates the very meaning of love and sacrifice.” – Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“RIch with a sense of discovery…The year is young, but The Orphan Master’s Son has an early lead on novel of 2012.” – The Daily Beast

“This is a novel worth getting excited about.” – The Washington Post

“[A] ripping piece of fiction that is also an astute commentary on the nature of freedom, sacrifice, and glory.” – Elle

An epic novel and a thrilling literary discovery, The Orphan Master’s Son follows a young man’s journey through the icy waters, dark tunnels, and eerie spy chambers of the world’s most mysterious dictatorship, North Korea.

Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother—a singer “stolen” to Pyongyang—and an influential father who runs Long Tomorrows, a work camp for orphans. There the boy is given his first taste of power, picking which orphans eat first and which will be lent out for manual labor. Recognized for his loyalty and keen instincts, Jun Do comes to the attention of superiors in the state, rises in the ranks, and starts on a road from which there will be no return.

Considering himself “a humble citizen of the greatest nation in the world,” Jun Do 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.”

Part breathless thriller, part story of innocence lost, part story of romantic love, The Orphan Master’s Son is also a riveting portrait of a world heretofore hidden from view: a North Korea rife with hunger, corruption, and casual cruelty but also camaraderie, stolen moments of beauty, and love. A towering literary achievement, The Orphan Master’s Son ushers Adam Johnson into the small group of today’s greatest writers.

My Review

I found this novel interesting but hard work.  The main character is well drawn but it seems to take an awfully long time to tell the story.  It became a struggle to finish as I had lost interest in working so hard to read the book.  It was definitely well written, I think the problem was that I was not particularly interested in the subject matter.  There were parts of the book which were more interesting than others and it was a good book overall it just dragged a little for me.

I gave this book 3/5 stars – I liked it.

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~ by adelesymonds on September 14, 2012.

One Response to “Book Review:The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson”

  1. Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to
    me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

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