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The Orphan Master's Son: A Novel (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)
by Adam Johnson

Published: 2012-08-07
Paperback : 442 pages
10 members reading this now
42 clubs reading this now
4 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 9 of 11 members

The Pulitzer Prize–winning, New York Times bestselling novel of North Korea: an epic journey into the heart of the world’s most mysterious dictatorship.

“Imagine Charles Dickens paying a visit to Pyongyang, and you see the canvas on which [Adam] Johnson is painting here.”—The ...

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Introduction

The Pulitzer Prize–winning, New York Times bestselling novel of North Korea: an epic journey into the heart of the world’s most mysterious dictatorship.

“Imagine Charles Dickens paying a visit to Pyongyang, and you see the canvas on which [Adam] Johnson is painting here.”—The Washington Post

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 North Korean 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 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.

FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD • WINNER OF THE DAYTON LITERARY PEACE PRIZE

Named ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR by more than a dozen publications, including The Washington Post • Entertainment Weekly • The Wall Street Journal • Los Angeles Times • San Francisco Chronicle

Praise for The Orphan Masters Son

“An exquisitely crafted novel that carries the reader on an adventuresome journey into the depths of totalitarian North Korea and into the most intimate spaces of the human heart.”—Pulitzer Prize citation

“Mr. Johnson has written a daring and remarkable novel, a novel that not only opens a frightening window on the mysterious kingdom of North Korea, but one that also excavates the very meaning of love and sacrifice.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“Rich with a sense of discovery . . . The Orphan Master’s Son has an early lead on novel of [the year].”—The Daily Beast

“This is a novel worth getting excited about.”The Washington Post

“[A] ripping piece of fiction that is also an astute commentary on the nature of freedom, sacrifice, and glory.”Elle

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.

Excerpt

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Discussion Questions

Suggested by Members

What does it take for a society to overcome a powerful totalirian government? Does it take a heroic populace?
by [email protected] (see profile) 07/07/16

Would you say the author of this book is suffering from severe shock?
by jolson (see profile) 07/10/15

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
by [email protected] (see profile) 06/14/18

Reggie - 4.5 - loved the main character and shocked at the everyday life shown in the book. Disturbing

Gwynne - 4.75 - the creative way the book was written - made us do a double take. Also

... (read more)

 
by [email protected] (see profile) 06/07/18

Ultimately enjoyed the story. Very interesting but I found it difficult to keep track of what was going on throughout the book. Fascinating story.

 
  "Orphan Master's Son"by valglo1010 (see profile) 04/03/18

Wow I found this a very difficult, graphic read. More then half my book club (about 7 people) did not finish it. Way to much (fiction or non-fiction) hardship, torture, bizarre an all around difficult... (read more)

 
by MarcLeepson (see profile) 02/19/18

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