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The Orphan Master's Son

A Novel
Johnson, Adam (Book - 2012 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Orphan Master's Son


Item Details

The son of an influential father who runs an orphan work camp, Pak Jun Do rises to prominence using instinctive talents and eventually becomes a professional kidnapper and romantic rival to Kim Jong Il.
Authors: Johnson, Adam, 1967-
Title: The orphan master's son
a novel
Publisher: New York :, Random House,, c2012.
Edition: 1st ed.
Characteristics: 443 p. ;,25 cm.
Summary: The son of an influential father who runs an orphan work camp, Pak Jun Do rises to prominence using instinctive talents and eventually becomes a professional kidnapper and romantic rival to Kim Jong Il.
ISBN: 9780812992793
0812992792
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Report This Apr 03, 2014
  • stoker rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

For a true story of N Korea, read Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick. I found the Orphan Master's Son too satirical, too silly and unbelievable, too far-fetched. I don't need satire to bring out the horror of the N Korean regime. It is very clear in a truthful way in Demick's book.

Report This Apr 02, 2014
  • becker rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

Oh my goodness, did I ever struggle with this book. It fluctuated between engaging and tedious. At several points I almost gave up on it and at other times I couldn't put it down. It was so saturated in satire that it became riduculous in places. The American authorship of this book was so evident that it was distracting. I'm not even sure what my final opinion of the book is but I certainly won't forget it. It was an experience.

A very interesting read. The author even in fiction, get facts right about the oppressive regime in North Korea. Sometimes very difficult but keeps the interest to finish the book

Report This Feb 20, 2014
  • johnharper_01 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Agreat story. A real eye opening look into North Korea as well.

Report This Jan 01, 2014
  • brianreynolds rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Adam Johnson's The Orphan Master's Son is on the local book club list, and that was, I'm reluctant to admit, the most sensible, perhaps my only reason for finishing it. In spite of the fact it follows a cleverly clear and compelling storyline with prose that is both interesting and highly descriptive of a strange and mysterious land, the book is painful to read. Seriously painful. Three short reasons. First of all, it is graphic in the extreme in describing a fictional (the author is quite explicit that it is fiction lest we not understand that there is a truth in fiction) society in which human beings are not only tortured routinely and brutally, ruled by constant fear, and deprived of the comforts and necessities of life as well as the right to think or even hope. The author names this fictional dystopia, North Korea. He does describe a fictional island of tranquillity and peace and honour and truth that he calls both Texas and United States of America, but the description is brief and the hapless Koreans have almost no hope of ever even learning about the nature of its pastoral beauty. Second, Johnson takes a story that could not be anything but an irony, a story of hopelessness and failure and misery, and (it would be unkind to suggest he might be pandering to a North American expectation of romance) he attempts to turn it into its opposite: a story where a hero (John Doe? Jun Do) solves a problem. In order to pull this off, the fair maiden that is saved might be the only person in the imaginary kingdom that doesn't need to be saved, and saving her results in the brutal deaths of many others. In a world where suicide is a victory over pain and killing your parents is the kindest gift you can give them, where faux-heroes are also kidnappers and torturers and killers themselves, where the line between truth and lie is only in the mind of the reader, really, there are no cowboys wearing the white hat. Third, I know too many people who read fiction to educate themselves about geography and history and science and everything else in the Dewey Decimal System. My stomach churns at how well this fits what they believe to be true about real places on the planet whether that is the case or not. Any one of those things might have prompted me to put it down and enjoy a nightmare-free sleep.

Report This Dec 21, 2013
  • Leonthedog rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.

This is a book with a lot of gratuitous anf casual violence that makes it sometimes difficult to read. As well it is difficult to tell where the satire ends and the truth starts. It reminded me very much of Tom Wolfe‘ s books. Written very much from an American view by a very American writer. Not worth the Pulitzer in any case.

Report This Nov 08, 2013
  • callaottawa rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

A great read. A slow start but picks up quickly. Fascinating topic with plot lines that keep you interested right to the end.. A glimpse into a scary North Korea.

I can see why this book won the Pulitzer. It was an amazing study into the insanity of a culture closed to the world and divorced from fact. It reads like science fiction but I believe that the essential truth of North Korea is in these pages.

Couldn't read this. Too grim.

Report This May 13, 2013
  • ssjhung rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I was not interested in a fiction with a background in North Korea, but I decided I had to read it after it won the Pulitzer, and I am very glad I did. The most interesting fiction I have read in the past few months.

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