The Orphan Master's Son
The Orphan Master's Son:
by Adam Johnson
$26.00 List Price
The Kim Jong Il that we meet in Adam Johnson’s second novel, set in North Korea, is no cartoon villain, no Team America marionette. He’s a three-dimensional character—a hairsprayed, jumpsuited, hopping-mad monomaniac, sure, but a man in whom we can recognize some of our own jealousies and desires. And although he is offstage more often than not in The Orphan Master’s Son, Dear Leader, as he’s usually referred to, is omnipresent in every conversation, every moment of intimacy, every sorrow that takes place somewhere in this fictional DPRK. He’s the glue holding together not just an entire totalitarian nation, but this ambitious, flawed, brave novel.
Johnson’s true protagonist, however, is Pak Jun Do, an obscure peasant who will grow up to be Kim Jong Il’s greatest rival. When the novel begins, during the North
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