The Orphan Master's Son

 

 

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Adam Johnson

 

 

ISBN 978-0812982626
Format Paperback
Publisher Random House Trade
 

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2013

Part bildungsroman, part political thriller, part expose of the most secretive country in the world, this is the story of a North Korean orphan who rises up through the ranks of the DPRK army as a tunnel soldier, a professional kidnapper, and a military intelligence officer, ultimately to become—for a very short time—a rival to the Dear Leader, Kim Jong-il. Yet it is also a love story—as one character in the novel claims, “the greatest North Korean love story ever told.” After reading it, you'll never look at a map of the Korean peninsula the same way.

NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST • LONGLISTED FOR THE AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION’S ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL • WINNER OF THE CALIFORNIA BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION  NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY

The Washington Post • Entertainment Weekly • The Wall Street Journal • Los Angeles Times • San Francisco Chronicle • Financial Times • Newsweek/The Daily Beast • The Plain Dealer • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • Milwaukee Journal Sentinel • Slate • Salon • BookPage • Shelf Awareness
 
“The single best work of fiction published in 2012 . . . The book’s cunning, flair and pathos are testaments to the still-formidable power of the written word.”—The Wall Street Journal

Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother—a singer “stolen” to Pyongyang—and an influential father who runs a work camp for orphans. Superiors in the state soon recognize the boy’s loyalty and keen instincts. Considering himself “a humble citizen of the greatest nation in the world,” Jun Do rises in the ranks. He 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.”

In this epic, critically acclaimed tour de force, Adam Johnson provides a riveting portrait of a world rife with hunger, corruption, and casual cruelty but also camaraderie, stolen moments of beauty, and love.
 

Adam Johnson, a former Wallace Stegner Fellow, teaches at Stanford University. His fiction has appeared in such publications as “Esquire” and “Harpers,” as well as “Best New American Fiction” four years running (a record).

 

 

 

 

 

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