9780812982626

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

Johnson, Adam

ISBN 10: 0812982622 / 0-8129-8262-2
ISBN 13: 9780812982626
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Publication Date: 2012
Binding: Softcover
Editorial Reviews for this title:
Synopsis:

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE

In this epic, critically acclaimed tour de force, Adam Johnson provides a riveting portrait of a world rife with hunger, corruption, and casual cruelty but also camaraderie, stolen moments of beauty, and love.

NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST • DAYTON LITERARY PEACE PRIZE WINNER • LONGLISTED FOR THE AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION’S ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL • WINNER OF THE CALIFORNIA BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY

The New Yorker • The Washington Post • Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly • The Wall Street Journal • Los Angeles Times • San Francisco Chronicle • Financial Times • Newsweek/The Daily Beast • The Plain Dealer • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • Milwaukee Journal Sentinel • Scott Turow, The Millions • Slate • Salon • BookPage • Shelf Awareness
 
“The single best work of fiction published [this year] . . . The book’s cunning, flair and pathos are testaments to the still-formidable power of the written word.”—The Wall Street Journal

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 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 Korean 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.”

Praise for The Orphan Master’s 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

“A daring and remarkable novel.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“Gripping . . . Deftly blending adventure, surreal comedy and Casablanca-style romance, the novel takes readers on a jolting ride through an Orwellian landscape of dubious identity and dangerous doublespeak.”San Jose Mercury News

“This is a novel worth getting excited about. . . . Adam Johnson has taken the papier-mâché creation that is North Korea and turned it into a real and riveting place that readers will find unforgettable.”The Washington Post

“[A] brilliant and timely novel.”The Wall Street Journal

“Remarkable and heartbreaking . . . To [the] very short list of exceptional novels that also serve a humanitarian purpose The Orphan Master’s Son must now be added.”The New Republic

“A triumph of imagination . . . [Grade:] A.”Entertainment Weekly

“A spellbinding saga of subverted identity and an irrepressible love.”Vogue

Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.


Review:

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE

In this epic, critically acclaimed tour de force, Adam Johnson provides a riveting portrait of a world rife with hunger, corruption, and casual cruelty but also camaraderie, stolen moments of beauty, and love.

NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST • LONGLISTED FOR THE AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION’S ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL • WINNER OF THE CALIFORNIA BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY

The Washington Post • Entertainment Weekly • The Wall Street Journal • Los Angeles Times • San Francisco Chronicle • Financial Times • Newsweek/The Daily Beast • The Plain Dealer • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • Milwaukee Journal Sentinel • Slate • Salon • BookPage • Shelf Awareness
 
“The single best work of fiction published in 2012 . . . The book’s cunning, flair and pathos are testaments to the still-formidable power of the written word.”—The Wall Street Journal

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 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 Korean 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.”

Praise for The Orphan Master’s 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

“A daring and remarkable novel.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“Gripping . . . Deftly blending adventure, surreal comedy and Casablanca-style romance, the novel takes readers on a jolting ride through an Orwellian landscape of dubious identity and dangerous doublespeak.”San Jose Mercury News

“This is a novel worth getting excited about. . . . Adam Johnson has taken the papier-mâché creation that is North Korea and turned it into a real and riveting place that readers will find unforgettable.”The Washington Post

“[A] brilliant and timely novel.”The Wall Street Journal

“Remarkable and heartbreaking . . . To [the] very short list of exceptional novels that also serve a humanitarian purpose The Orphan Master’s Son must now be added.”The New Republic

“A triumph of imagination . . . [Grade:] A.”Entertainment Weekly

“A spellbinding saga of subverted identity and an irrepressible love.”Vogue

Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.

Product Description

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

Review

Editorial reviews may belong to another edition of this title.
 

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Johnson, Adam
ISBN 10: 0812982622
ISBN 13: 9780812982626
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Book Description: Random House. 1 Paperback(s), 2012. soft. Book Condition: New. (Winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction) The Orphan Master's Son is "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," according to the Pulitzer Prize citation for Adam Johnson. The son of a lost mother (a singer "stolen" to Pyongyang) and a father who runs a work camp for orphans, Pak Jun Do is recognized as a loyal and talented servant to his country. He becomes a professional kidnapper, one who must navigate the shifting rules, arbitrary violence, and baffling demands of his Korean overlords in order to stay alive—until he sets himself against Kim Jong Il to save his beloved Sun Moon. But what is most unexpected, in Johnson's riveting portrait of a world made from hunger, corruption, and casual cruelty, is that one can also find camaraderie, stolen moments of beauty, and love."A great novel can take implausible fact and turn it into entirely believable fiction. That's the genius of The Orphan Master's Son. Adam Johnson has taken the papier-mâché creation that is North Korea and turned it into a real and riveting place that readers will find unforgettable. This is a novel worth getting excited about . I haven't liked a new novel this much in years. Johnson has painted in indelible colors the nightmare of Kim's North Korea. When English readers want to understand what it was about—how people lived and died inside a cult of personality that committed unspeakable crimes against its citizens—I hope they will turn to this carefully documented story. The happy surprise is that they will find it such a page turner."—Washington Post 443. Bookseller Inventory # 43511

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Johnson, Adam
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Book Description: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2012. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: "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 "All of these elements-stylistic panache, technical daring, moral weight and an uncanny sense of the current moment-combine in Adam Johnson''s The Orphan Master''s Son , the single best work of fiction published in 2012. . . . The book''s cunning, flair and pathos are testaments to the still-formidable power of the written word." - The Wall Street Journal " The Orphan Master's Son performs an unusual form of sorcery, taking a frankly cruel and absurd reality and somehow converting it into a humane and believable fiction. It's an epic feat of story-telling. It's thrillingly written, and it''s just thrilling period." -Zadie Smith, Los Angeles Times "A great novel can take implausible fact and turn it into entirely believable fiction. That's the genius of The Orphan Master's Son. Adam Johnson has taken the papier-m'ch creation that is North Korea and turned it into a real and riveting place that readers will find unforgettable. This is a novel worth getting excited about, one which more than delivers on its pre-publication buzz I haven't liked a new novel this much in years, and I want to share the simple pleasure of reading the book. But I also think it's an instructive lesson in how to paint a fictional world against a background of fact: The secret is researchIt's this process of re-imagination that makes the fictional locale so real and gives the novel an impact you could never achieve with a thousand newspaper stories. Johnson has painted in indelible colors the nightmare of Kim's North Korea. When English readers want to understand what it was about - how people lived and died inside a cult of personality that committed unspeakable crimes against its citizens - I hope they will turn to this carefully documented story. The happy surprise is that they will find it such a page turner." - The Washington Post "Adam Johnson''s remarkable novel The Orphan Master's Son is set in North Korea, an entire nation that has conformed to the fictions spun by a dictator and his inner circleMr. Johnson is a wonderfully flexible writer who can pivot in a matter of lines from absurdity to atrocityWe don''t know what''s really going on in that strange place, but a disquieting glimpse suggesting what it must be like can be found in this brilliant and timely novel." - Wall Street Journal "A harrowing, clever, incomparable riff on life in Kim Jong Il''s North Korea" - San Francisco Chronicle "Magnificently accomplishedPart thriller, part coming-of-age novel, part romance, The Orphan Master's Son is made sturdy by researchbut what makes it so absorbing isn't its documentary realism but the dark flight of the author''s imaginationrich with a sense of discoveryThe year is young, but The Orphan Master's Son has an early lead on novel of 2012" - The Daily Beast "Providing a rare glimpse into one of the world's least known countries, Adam Johnson weaves a tale of hardship, romance, and redemption in North Korea in The Orphan Master's Son ." - National Geographic Traveler "An incredibly vivid page-turner of a novelRomance, coming-of-age tale, adventure and thriller all in one, this book is singular and not to be missed." - The Huffington Post , 10 Best January Must-Reads "The death of Kim Jong Il couldn''t have come at a better time for novelist Adam Johnson. The Orphan Master's Son is a richly textured political thriller about the hidden world of North Korea with all of its misery, violence and defiant acts of love under impossible circumstances. Stunning and evocative imagery abounds on every page." - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "StartlingJohnson''s carefully layered story feels authentic.[He] writes light-footed prose, barely allowing harrowing glimpses of atrocity to register be. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0812982622

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Book Description: Random House Trade Paperbacks. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0812982622 The son of a singer mother whose career forcibly separated her from her family and an influential father who runs an orphan work camp, Pak Jun Do rises to prominence using instinctive talents and eventually becomes a professional kidnapper and romantic rival to Kim Jong Il. By the author of Parasites Like Us. Bookseller Inventory # 16024605

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Book Description: Random House USA Inc, United States, 2012. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 203 x 132 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE In this epic, critically acclaimed tour de force, Adam Johnson provides a riveting portrait of a world rife with hunger, corruption, and casual cruelty but also camaraderie, stolen moments of beauty, and love. NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST - DAYTON LITERARY PEACE PRIZE WINNER - LONGLISTED FOR THE AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION S ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL - WINNER OF THE CALIFORNIA BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION - NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New Yorker - The Washington Post - Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly - The Wall Street Journal - Los Angeles Times - San Francisco Chronicle - Financial Times - Newsweek /The Daily Beast - The Plain Dealer - St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Scott Turow, The Millions - Slate - Salon - BookPage - Shelf Awareness The single best work of fiction published [this year] . . . The book s cunning, flair and pathos are testaments to the still-formidable power of the written word. -- The Wall Street Journal 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 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 Korean 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. Praise for The Orphan Master s 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 A daring and remarkable novel. --Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times Gripping . . . Deftly blending adventure, surreal comedy and Casablanca -style romance, the novel takes readers on a jolting ride through an Orwellian landscape of dubious identity and dangerous doublespeak. -- San Jose Mercury News This is a novel worth getting excited about. . . . Adam Johnson has taken the papier-mache creation that is North Korea and turned it into a real and riveting place that readers will find unforgettable. -- The Washington Post [A] brilliant and timely novel. -- The Wall Street Journal Remarkable and heartbreaking . . . To [the] very short list of exceptional novels that also serve a humanitarian purpose The Orphan Master s Son must now be added. -- The New Republic A triumph of imagination . . . [Grade: ] A. -- Entertainment Weekly A spellbinding saga of subverted identity and an irrepressible love. -- Vogue Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader s Circle for author chats and more. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9780812982626

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