With the death of Kim Jong-il all eyes are on North Korea, but the best way to understand the country is Adam Johnson’s 'The Orphan Master’s Son.'. More reading about the life of everyday citizens inside the Hermit Kingdom, both within and outside of the capital, would be interesting. Imagine Charles Dickens paying a visit to Pyongyang, and you see the canvas on which [Adam] Johnson is painting here. The Orphan Master’s Son has an early lead on novel of [the year].”—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 [1] The novel was awarded the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.[2][3]. 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. [4] Their son, Daniel is hostile to his new sister, but their deaf mute daughter, Max is enchanted with her - at first. And Johnson, whose debut collection Emporium was one of the best books of the early aughts, gives it to us with a fiction writer’s eye for detail: the blast of “shock-work whistles” at a cannery, the clammy feel of seawater in the hold of a fishing boat, the delicate flavor of a soup made with scavenged herbs. It’s a finishing-straight stumble, but the book succeeds in spite of it. Why don’t more novelists write about 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. Part thriller, part coming-of-age novel, part romance, The Orphan Master’s Son is made sturdy by research—Johnson traveled to Pyongyang in 2007—but what makes it so absorbing isn’t its documentary realism but the dark flight of the author’s imagination. "[5] Writing in the Wall Street Journal,[6] Sam Sacks said “stylistic panache, technical daring, moral weight and an uncanny sense of the current moment—combine in Adam Johnson's 'The Orphan Master's Son', the single best work of fiction published in 2012.” M. Francis Wolff, in her review for The New Inquiry,[7] called the book "one of those rare works of high ambition that follow through on all of its promises... it examines both the Orwellian horrors of life in the DPRK and the voyeurism of Western media." Due to a 'heroic act' he displayed on the boat, he becomes part of a diplomatic delegation and travels over to America. Stunning and evocative imagery abounds on every page.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette “Startling…Johnson’s carefully layered story feels authentic… When Kim Jong-il realises that Jun Do has let Sun Moon escape along with the delegation, he is arrested and later sentenced to be executed. When he finds the real commander’s laptop, he goes through his photos, which are before-and-after shots of men he has hurt. Next he’s put on a series of kidnapping missions to Japan, then tasked with collecting radio intelligence aboard a fishing boat, then brought along on a diplomatic mission to Texas. Like his first novel, Parasites like Us, Adam Johnson’s second, The Orphan Master’s Son, migrates from the outlandish to the fantastic. Heroically Jun Do retains a core of goodness through his beatings and mistreatment—he’s curious and empathetic in a world where both qualities can get you killed. It deals with intertwined themes of propaganda, identity, and state power in North Korea. ISBN-13: 9780812982626 Summary Winner, 2013 Pulitizer Prize 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. During a period of national famine, Jun Do and the orphans are sent to join the army. If we didn't already know that North Korea was a crazy, messed-up place, we'd almost think this was some scary, dystopian sci-fi novel set on another planet. The Orphan Master’s Son is a richly textured political thriller about the hidden world of North Korea with all of its misery, violence and defiant acts of love under impossible circumstances. [2], "Adam Johnson wins the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for 2013", http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140418000717, "The Orphan Master's Son an audacious, believable tale", "The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson : Review", "National Book Critics Circle Names *2012 Award Finalists", "2013 Dayton Literary Peace Prize winners announced", The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter, Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Orphan_Master%27s_Son&oldid=997454218, Short description is different from Wikidata, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, 2013 The Morning News Tournament of Books, winner, This page was last edited on 31 December 2020, at 15:59. The Orphan Master's Son Introduction. However, as the trip to America was an unsuccessful mission, Jun Do and his team are sent to a prison mine upon returning to North Korea. Our protagonist, Pak Jun Do, grows up in an orphanage, where his father, the orphan master, won’t acknowledge him, and then he’s recruited by a military DMZ tunnel squad and taught to kill in the dark. Jun Do survives that ordeal, along with a vicious debriefing by an official whose occupation has turned his fists into mangled clubs. 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. He's convinced that the Orphan Master is actually his father and that the beautiful woman in a photo hanging from his wall is his mother. Dark, these ghostly figures, keeping low and moving quickly, were gathering all the flowers the... S second novel is a 2012 novel by American author Adam Johnson, 2012 House. 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