The Orphan Master's Son. Adam Johnson

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9780552778251: The Orphan Master's Son. Adam Johnson

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION 2013 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST 'You know you are in the hands of someone who can tell a story ... fantastic' ZADIE SMITH 'Excavates the very meaning of life' New York Times Pak Jun Do knows he is special. He knows he must be the son of the master of the orphanage, not some kid dumped by his parents - it was obvious from the way his father singled him out for beatings. He knows he is special when he is picked as a spy and kidnapper for his country, the glorious Democratic Republic of North Korea. He knows he must find his true love, Sun Moon, the greatest opera star who ever lived, before it's too late. He knows he's not like the other prisoners in the camp. He's going to get out soon. Definitely

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Review:

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, January 2012: It is only January, but Adam Johnson’s astonishing novel is destined to cast a long shadow over the year in books. 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. --Chris Schluep



Adam Johnson on The Orphan Master's Son

When I arrived at Pyongyang's Sunan Airport a few years ago, my head was still spinning from a landing on a runway lined with cattle, electric fences and the fuselages of other jets whose landings hadn't gone so well. Even though I'd spent three years writing and researching The Orphan Master's Son, I was unprepared for what I was about to encounter in “the most glorious nation in the world.”

I'd started writing about North Korea because of a fascination with propaganda and the way it prescribes an official narrative to an entire people. In Pyongyang, that narrative begins with the founding of a glorious nation under the fatherly guidance of Kim Il Sung, is followed by years of industry and sacrifice among its citizenry, so that when Kim Jong Il comes to power, all is strength, happiness and prosperity. It didn't matter that the story was a complete fiction--every citizen was forced to become a character whose motivations, desires and fears were dictated by this script. The labor camps were filled with those who hadn't played their parts, who'd spoken of deprivation instead of plenitude and the purest democracy.

When I visited places like Pyongyang, Kaesong City, Panmunjom and Myohyangsan, I understood that a genuine interaction with a North Korean citizen was unlikely, since contact with foreigners was illegal. As I walked the streets, not one person would risk a glance, a smile, even a pause in their daily routine. In the Puhung Metro Station, I wondered what happened to personal desires when they came into conflict with a national story. Was it possible to retain a personal identity in such conditions, and under what circumstances would a person reveal his or her true nature? These mysteries--of subsumed selves, of hidden lives, of rewritten longings--are the fuel of novels, and I felt a powerful desire to help reveal what a dynastic dictatorship had forced these people to conceal.

Of course, I could only speculate on those lives, filling the voids with research and imagination. Back home, I continued to read books and seek out personal accounts. Testimonies of gulag survivors like Kang Chol Hwan proved invaluable. But I found that most scholarship on the DPRK was dedicated to military, political and economic theory. Fewer were the books that focused directly on the people who daily endured such circumstances. Rarer were the narratives that tallied the personal cost of hidden emotions, abandoned relationships, forgotten identities. These stories I felt a personal duty to tell. Traveling to North Korea filled me with a sense that every person there, from the lowliest laborer to military leaders, had to surrender a rich private life in order to enact one pre-written by the Party. To capture this on the page, I created characters across all levels of society, from the orphan soldier to the Party leaders. And since Kim Jong Il had written the script for all of North Korea, my novel didn't make sense without writing his role as well.

Featured Photographs

Anti-tank devices seen while traveling south from Pyongyang toward Panmunj
 
DPRK soldier
 
Air raid sirens
 
Revelutionary Martyr's Cemetery on Mount Taesong

About the Author:

Adam Johnson teaches creative writing at Stanford University. His second novel THE ORPHAN MASTER'S SON won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2013 and was a New York Times bestseller. His short story NIRVANA won the EFG/Sunday Times Best Short Story Award 2014. He lives in San Francisco with his family.

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Adam Johnson
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Descripción Transworld Publishers Ltd, United Kingdom, 2013. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION 2013 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST You know you are in the hands of someone who can tell a story . fantastic ZADIE SMITH Excavates the very meaning of life New York Times Pak Jun Do knows he is special. He knows he must be the son of the master of the orphanage, not some kid dumped by his parents - it was obvious from the way his father singled him out for beatings. He knows he is special when he is picked as a spy and kidnapper for his country, the glorious Democratic Republic of North Korea. He knows he must find his true love, Sun Moon, the greatest opera star who ever lived, before it s too late. He knows he s not like the other prisoners in the camp. He s going to get out soon. Definitely. Nº de ref. de la librería AAZ9780552778251

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Adam Johnson
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Descripción Transworld Publishers Ltd, United Kingdom, 2013. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION 2013 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST You know you are in the hands of someone who can tell a story . fantastic ZADIE SMITH Excavates the very meaning of life New York Times Pak Jun Do knows he is special. He knows he must be the son of the master of the orphanage, not some kid dumped by his parents - it was obvious from the way his father singled him out for beatings. He knows he is special when he is picked as a spy and kidnapper for his country, the glorious Democratic Republic of North Korea. He knows he must find his true love, Sun Moon, the greatest opera star who ever lived, before it s too late. He knows he s not like the other prisoners in the camp. He s going to get out soon. Definitely. Nº de ref. de la librería AAZ9780552778251

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Descripción Black Swan, 2013. Estado de conservación: New. 2013. 2000th Edition. Paperback. Pak Jun Do knows he is special. He knows he must be the son of the master of the orphanage, not some kid dumped by his parents - it was obvious from the way his father singled him out for beatings. He knows he is special when he is picked as a spy and kidnapper for his country, the glorious Democratic Republic of North Korea. Num Pages: 592 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 199 x 130 x 38. Weight in Grams: 412. . . . . . . Nº de ref. de la librería V9780552778251

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Descripción Black Swan. Estado de conservación: New. 2013. 2000th Edition. Paperback. Pak Jun Do knows he is special. He knows he must be the son of the master of the orphanage, not some kid dumped by his parents - it was obvious from the way his father singled him out for beatings. He knows he is special when he is picked as a spy and kidnapper for his country, the glorious Democratic Republic of North Korea. Num Pages: 592 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 199 x 130 x 38. Weight in Grams: 412. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Nº de ref. de la librería V9780552778251

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