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The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

Article by Helen Bradshaw, Dubray Books Dun Laoghaire ©.
Posted in | .

North Korea is one of the most cloistered nations in the world, offering propaganda as information both at home and abroad. In this novel, Adam Johnson tears a slit in this veil of secrecy and reveals the humanity that lies within. Jun Do believes his mother to be a beautiful singer and that he is the son of the master of the orphanage in Pyongyang. He works hard at the orphanage, taking on more and more responsibility. He attracts the attention of superiors of the state, who recognize his value as a trusted comrade and give him increasingly brutal and terrifying assignments. But, as Jun Do is pushed to the brink of endurance, he must take on Kim Jung-Il himself or lose the woman he loves. Johnson’s novel is a treat—thoroughly researched, eminently readable and in turns horrifying and surprisingly funny.