I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.
Sometimes you read a Pulitzer Prize winner, and shake your head in disbelief. This time I knew exactly why this book won. It deserves all of the praise it can get.
This book is SO real. I'm unsure of its accuracy, but I certainly felt like I had a glimpse of the Glorious Democratic People's Republic of Korea through the character's eyes. It's so rare when I actually can suspend reality and feel something on behalf of a character. In this book it happened subtly. I had a visceral reaction to an event before I realized how immersed I was in the characters and their lives. I started to grimace every time I heard "glorious" or "Citizens!" or "Supreme Leader."
Adam Johnson has done a fine job of using fiction to paint a picture of life inside one of the most closed societies on earth. He allowed me to understand it in a way that wouldn't have been possible otherwise.
The narration is perfectly suited to the book. It's not completely transparent, but gives you a very good sense of where you are and who is talking. I think it's precisely what a good narration should do - especially in a book like this with abhorrent content. I had enough of a reaction. I didn't need any overblown narration to help that along.
This story was just not for me. Listened for about 5 hours and just could not get into the book. My book club was reading it and I guess that it was pretty much divided between liked it and hated it. I just don't have time to listen to something that would take me so long to get into.
short, fat, and stupid.
Buy this book. I dont normally read fiction but this book was top notch. North Korea is such a great topic setting for a book. I LOVED IT.
Say something about yourself!
Incredible book taking place in North Korea. It is quite unfathomable that a country like this still exists in this day & age.
The lead character is really well-developed & although his actions were truly incomprehensible at times, it forces the reader to go beyond thinking what 'normal' is.
Definitely recommended & no question Pulitzer-worthy!
This was an extremely well written book; I could not put it down. However it is a very disturbing book. The narrators are great!
The Orphan Master's Son is one of the most astonishing novels I have ever read. It's a persuasive portrait of a mysteriously opaque country, North Korea, and how the world must appear through that particular looking glass. It's a beautifully orchestrated tale of a good man who manages to preserve his sense of himself in a land where nothing personal can survive. It's a fascinating meditation on the nature of fiction, in a place where propaganda has turned everything to fiction.
The audio narration is exquisite.
One caution: there are moments of extreme brutality that are very hard to listen to. They are not gratuitous, indeed they are essential, but they are very raw.
The audio in this book is flawless. The readers draw you in with their subtly and nuance.
While the story takes a turn after the Texan event that initially seems implausible, the last third of the book makes it all unfold so well that you are left thinking about the amazing complexity of Kim Jung Il as a person who propagates such a society, eve if most of it is fiction.
The story has set me on a path to read/listen to more books about North Korea so I can garner a greater appreciation of this mysterious country.
The Orphan Master’s Son was fascinating and compelling. However, if you don't like graphic violence or the depiction of really depressing situations, then this book won't be for you. (I'm now reading a Stephen King book, and it seems like cotton candy compared to this.)
The structure of the book was interesting, even if a bit confusing. The first half was a twisted adventure story – picaresque, like Don Quixote where it moves from one adventure to the next. The second half was a love story, basically. The second half was really confusing for quite a while. It finally became clear that the story was really being told in three versions – Korean propaganda version, Ga version, and interrogator version. Also, it finally becomes clear that the interrogator character’s whole story line occurs AFTER the ending of the story of Ga and Sun Moon (trying not to give too much away about that ending.)
The characters were so well drawn. The growth and change of Commander Ga (Pak Jun Do) from beginning to end was very moving. In the beginning Ga’s name is Jun Do, and the author mentions how this is like John Doe, a nameless character. I presume he is telling us that Jun Do/Ga is like an Everyman character for North Korea. His various adventures demonstrate so much of what must be going on in North Korea.
Ga’s change at the end represents a hope for lifting North Korea out of the dark ages. I had no idea that North Korea was THAT horrible before reading this book. Shame on me, but it’s true. I credit Adam Johnson for bringing this horror to the eyes of many readers who, like myself, were unaware. Change could result from this exposure; one can only hope.
I found many parts of the book to be extremely disturbing – perhaps more disturbing than any other book I’ve read. The worst parts were those narrated by the interrogator character and having to do with the extreme torture. The depth of horror in the North Korean society seemed to be most represented by him. When he described his parents and it became obvious that even they were afraid of him it was done so chillingly. And when he goes through a change toward the end, well, I suppose that is part of the “redemption” in the book, if you could call it that.
I felt the book was too long. I’m not sure where I’d cut it, but perhaps some of Commander Ga’s various transformations could have been left out or shortened. Another possibility would be to somehow leave out some of the torture scenes which were so graphic and disturbing.
Compelling, haunting, inescapable.
Apart from The Orphan Master's Son being an incredible "read" I would listen to more of the narrators' work regardless of subject matter. Phenomenal job.
My lasting impression of this novel will be the authors view of life in North Korea and those who occupy 'the most democratic nation on Earth'. The representation of the 'lovely leader' was mesmerizing. Romance, horror, mystery, how to build a dictatorship, a little of everything. Very enjoyable.