Wednesday, November 13

bibliophile [the orphan master's son]

Give it some time, and I bet you'll end up liking this nobel prize winner and the first pick of my book club. I certainly did.

The Orphan Master's Son, by Adam Johnson

This book is in two parts, and I'll admit, the first part is a bit hard to get through and seems rather disjointed and pointless. One book club member kept asking, "but why?". I don't mind a bit of ambiguity, but it's true that the first half wasn't exactly a page-turner. Then again, neither was my Fave Book of Spring '13. Blurb time:

Jun Do is The Orphan Master’s Son, a North Korean citizen with a rough past who is working as a government-sanctioned kidnapper when we first meet him. He is hardly a sympathetic character, but sympathy is not author Johnson’s aim. In a totalitarian nation of random violence and bewildering caprice—a poor, gray place that nonetheless refers to itself as “the most glorious nation on earth”—an unnatural tension exists between a citizen’s national identity and his private life. Through Jun Do’s story we realize that beneath the weight of oppression and lies beats a heart not much different from our own—one that thirsts for love, acceptance, and hope—and that realization is at the heart of this shockingly believable, immersive, and thrilling novel.

I would say I've never had much fascination with North Korea, but that may be changed now. The author visited the country as part of his research, but was unable to speak to anyone, as of course it is illegal for North Koreans to speak to foreigners (!!!). If these are even remotely accurate insights into the country, this book is worth reading just for the historical and political exposure. If you're the type that needs to like your narrator/protagonist, beware. I didn't strongly dislike him, but I certainly wasn't rooting for him, either. Read it!

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how you like dem apples?