The Orphan Master's Son

The Orphan Master's Son

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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.

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.

Title:The Orphan Master's Son
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780812992793
Format Type:

    The Orphan Master's Son Reviews

  • Stephen King

    In a stunning feat of imagination, Johnson puts us inside Jun Do (yep, John Doe), a North Korean orphan who stumbles from poverty to a job as body double for a Hero of the Eternal Revolution. The clos...

  • Joshua Nomen-Mutatio

    CITIZENS, gather 'round the individualistic screens of your capitalistically-exploited folding-computers and other pocket-sized computational devices! The Dear Reviewer has much omniscient wisdom and ...

  • Nataliya

    This is not an easy book to read. It preys on the minds of readers, on the fears and hopes that stem from our deeply ingrained cultural concepts, our habitual comfortable worldview. It takes you to th...

  • Shawn

    "The Orphan Master's Son Has No Clothes" -- I'd love to take credit for coming up with that beautifully stated, extremely accurate summing up of this awful, awful book, but I can't. I suppose, if noth...

  • Steve

    Literature is a fiction that tells a greater truth – so somebody wise once said. But the truth is a tricky business. This epic story set in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (that’s the ...

  • jessica

    aw man. i really wanted to enjoy this. i havent read any books about north korea and thought the plot sounded really interesting. but satire and i do not mix, so this ended up not being my cup of tea....

  • David Putnam

    What a great novel, it deserves the Pulitzer. The story is told in the point of view of John Doe, a North Korean who gives a great running narrative of what it’s like to live or at least survive in ...

  • Michael Finocchiaro

    Adam Johnson's The Orphan Master's Son defies categories and captives the reader's attention end to end. We are brought face to face with the brutal inhumanity of the Kim Jong Il dictatorship (which t...

  • Kemper

    Read it quick before North Korea decides you can't.If I wasn’t glad that Kim Jong Il is dead before reading this book, I certainly am now.Pak Jun Do never knew his mother and is raised in the orphan...

  • Miles

    I'll preface this review by saying that, in many ways, this is an excellent novel. It's intelligent, rich in symbolism and metaphor, and takes place in one of the most interesting contemporary setting...