Day 11: THE ORPHAN MASTER’S SON a novel from Adam Johnson will have many piper’s piping in the New Year. It’s been called a towering literary achievement and is a masterful story of a young soldier fighting for his life in North Korea, The Orphan Master’s Son is a novel on par with The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.
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Part bildungsroman, part political thriller, part exposé 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.
Praise for The Orphan Master’s Son:
“Adam Johnson has pulled off literary alchemy, first by setting his novel in North Korea, a country that few of us can imagine, then by producing such compelling characters, whose lives unfold at breakneck speed. I was engrossed right to the amazing conclusion. The result is pure gold, a terrific novel.”—Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone
“An addictive novel of daring ingenuity, a study of sacrifice and freedom in a citizen-eating dynasty, and a timely reminder that anonymous victims of oppression are also human beings who love—The Orphan Master’s Son is a brave and impressive book.”—David Mitchell, author of The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
“I’ve never read anything like it. This is truly an amazing reading experience, a tremendous accomplishment. I could spend days talking about how much I love this book. It sounds like overstatement, but no. The Orphan Master’s Son is a masterpiece.”—Charles Bock, author of Beautiful Children
“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 . . . juxtapos[ing] the vicious atrocities of the regime with the tenderness of beauty, love, and hope.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“The Orphan Master’s Son is a triumph on every level.”—Booklist (starred review)