Citizens of our beloved Democratic Republic of North Korea! Imagine the life of an orphan boy plucked from nowhere to be trained as a tunnel assassin, a kidnapper, a spy. He has no father but the State, no sweetheart but Sun Moon, the greatest opera star who ever lived, whose face is tattooed on his chest. Imagine he lives in our very own country, ...
Citizens of our beloved Democratic Republic of North Korea! Imagine the life of an orphan boy plucked from nowhere to be trained as a tunnel assassin, a kidnapper, a spy. He has no father but the State, no sweetheart but Sun Moon, the greatest opera star who ever lived, whose face is tattooed on his chest. Imagine he lives in our very own country, a model of exemplary Communism. A nation that is the envy of the world, especially the Americans. Where the only stories people need to hear are those blasting out of loudspeakers to the glory of our dear Leader, Kim Jong il. Dry your eyes now, comrades! Prepare to hear the Greatest North Korean Love Story Ever Told. THE ORPHAN MASTER'S SON is an iconoclastic work of fiction, part thriller, part coming-of-age story, part love story. Dark, playful and genre-defying, its searing depiction of one man's epic journey through the surrealist brutality of North Korea shines a fierce light on the essence of the human condition.
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Johnson has taken us to a place not many of us have gone before. It's a place (North Korea) that is much better visiting from the pages of a book than actually being there. He has delivered a powerful story.
Jun 6, 2013
DIFFICULT READING. HEAVY AND LABORED TREATMENT. PRIZE WINNER ?
Publishers Weekly, 2011-10-24 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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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