The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson
- Method of Obtaining: I received my copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
- Published by: Random Publishing
- Release Date: 1/10/2012
An epic novel and a thrilling literary discovery, The Orphan Master’s Sonfollows 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.”
Reason for Reading:
- The hype made me look twice, then after reading the summary I needed to know more.
Not since reading Wild Swans have I been as deeply affected as I was while reading The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson. The story of Pak Jun Do is a powerful, moving story and opened my eyes to so very much I did not know. I did not know much about North Korea, Kim Jong Il, or really anything that was happening until I got a taste of it in this novel and it’s done what every good book strives to do – awakened my curiosity.
This is, in a way, a sort of traveling narrative-type of story. Through the course of the book we’re introduced to various characters in Pak Jun Do’s life – the Orphan Master (his father), the Captain, and so on and so forth. Each person has an impact on him, each one provides a valuable lesson, and each one gives us, the readers, an insight into a different aspect of life in North Korea.
This book is talked about. It’s received a lot of hype, and that hype is deserved. Don’t let it put you off from reading it. It’s a thoroughly engrossing story that is not only beautifully written, but also very accessible to readers of all types.
Don’t just take my word for it! Check out what these bloggers say!