The realistic horror of North Korea was too much for me. I have traveled in Asian countries (not NK) and it just struck home so much I could see that this is probably an accurate portrayal of life there. It is so horrible that I couldn't take it after 1/2 of the book and just quit. This book is too real.
Probably many will like the book because of that. I just couldn't bear thinking about how these people live every day any more. No thanks.
Great narrator, well written.
Greedy, voracious reader since age five. After a number of eye injuries & surgeries, reading is hard. So now, I listen.
This book is effective against insomnia. Thanks, but still, the slow-moving story and lifeless narration could not convince me to continue listening after the first 1,000 hours or so. Or maybe it just felt like 1,000 hours, and that didn't even get me out of Part I. Waste of time, waste of money
OMG! don't get me started
NO!! slap yourself for suggesting that
I want my money back.
I finished the book, although I was tempted to stop a few times. Like many, I found the narration grating and I thought it added little to the story. So I wonder if I would have liked the print edition of this book better.
In general, when it was interesting, it was very interesting, but then there would be long periods where the story was going over the same ground and got tedious. It was also very confusing to follow at times. By the end, I was clear on who was who, but it was not always so as I was listening.
There are such impassioned reviews on here and I went into the book wanting to feel the same way, but the narration and the jumping about in the story made it a bit of a slog for me, I'm afraid.
I think Adam Johnson writes with a clear eye and able to use words well to convey the starkness of the life of a young man in North Korea. At times I had to turn off the book and wait serveral days to resume it. It made my chest hurt. I will have to see what he writes about next before I will get another book.
Not for me. My skin is not tough enough
English major. Love to read
I had to stop listening to this book. The more I listened, the more I got saddened and depressed. I was hit over the head over and over how oppressed the main character (and all of his friends and family) were. I like to understand different cultures but I couldn't continue and enjoy the spring weather in Seattle. The story became ponderous and weighed down with the dark nature of its content.
I was fooled by the Pulitzer. This is a singularly uninteresting, charmless book about a topic that is currently newsworthy, but about which the author knows next to nothing. The glowing reviews must be coming from other innocent people who know even less about the topic. Very disappointing. Three stars because he got a lot of words onto a lot of pages and someone was patient enough to do a good job of reading them.
Putting books on the back burner.
I had really high hopes for this book, but it is one of the worse novels that I ever read. It seems like the author doesn't really go in depth at what it is like being in North Korea. It seems like the author just watched a few documentaries, read news articles on North Korea and started writing the story around the premise. Yet another top secret, James Bond, spy novel. If you change the country to other than North Korea, you will have the same story with slightly alter cultural facts.
The narrators are equally as bad. I understand that you need to act like your characters, but it is almost unbearable to listen to with their Korean accents with broken English.
If you want to read about North Korea from a first person perspective, look elsewhere, like "Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea" or even, "The World Is Bigger Now: An American Journalist's Release from Captivity in North Korea."
They are much better books on the subject and the struggle, living/captive in a communist country.. If you don't believe me, you can search my reviews.
Read something else other than the Orphan Master's Son. The book is poorly written on speculations on Kim Jong Il and the country.
a towering white flower blooms on a barren deserted mountain. Such is the humanity, love and freedom found in Johnson's North Korea, He sets up the isolated mountain well in first part of the book, purposefully and carefully imparting the utter nothingness of Jun Do's life onto the reader. In this way we neither love or hate Do yet there is an attachment to the story. Johnson keeps us reading through the merits of his writing and unique mix of imagination and attention to authentic details alone. The second part of the book showcases the white flower . "He began his story how a love story might open with a beauty and an insight that combined pity with the need to protect". Johnson begins a love story between the reader and the character Jun Do in this same way and runs it in parallel to the story of Do(or shall I say commander Ga) and Sun Moon. Both blossom slowly but in stunning beauty. We find ourselves suddenly struck by Do's humanity as he is faced with unimaginable scenes of the inhumane. Johnson draws us into Do this way and sets the foundation for an epic love story truly worthy of the Casablanca comparisons drawn by Johnson. He tells this epic through the breathtaking imagery and heartbreaking emotion of Ga's "confession". It creates a story so powerful it is able to remind the hardened investigator what he has forgotten, that love and intimacy are all that matters, that inside his father is holding his hand . In this way love really does conquer all. Ga's love for Sun Moon is able to free her and her children, it is able to free himself and is ultimately able to free the investigator and his parents.
I thought the ending was unworthy of such an amazing book, however. I think Johnson should have ended the book sooner leaving a fresh taste of this love in the reader's mouth
"In the dream I believe this night will be different, that when we arrive home she will finally let me touch her. She is wearing a platinum choson-ot, shimmery as crushed diamonds. On the street people in black pajamas dart into our path........people carrying bundles and groceries and extra work to take home but I do not slow. I am commander Ga in the dream. my whole life I have been steered by others, I've been the one trying to escape from their paths but commander Ga is a man who steps on the gas."
This novel blew my mind! From the beginning to the end I hung on every word. The story was dynamic, exciting, disturbing, and heartbreaking. I really loved this book- I wish it was longer!
Say something about yourself!
Outstanding story and performance. The story was complex and engaging. The performance was amazing.