This is an insightful and well written and exceptionally well read novel. I have always avoided books with multiple narrators (I don't know why), but these narrators were complementary and the reading was seamless.
It's hard to pick out a memorable or favorite part... that's not the way I assimilate a story. The insights, both factual/historical and fictionalized about North Korea were enlightening and explained a lot of the strange (what I thought were strange) reactions after Kim Jung Il's death... Re-enforced my gratitude for being born an American.
This is a great read... don't miss it. I've never read anything like it.
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 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.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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.
Once you accept that this adventure is more a dark and highly charged caprice of imagination than a factual historical fiction, the story takes you on a roller coaster ride of the grim fates and absurd ironies of the millions who live within the most secretive regime on earth. Rampant violence and abuse is counterpoint to laughably sarcastic "propaganda," both throughout the tight Orwellian storyline. Artistically vivid metaphors and distinct personalities prove the worthiness of this book's accolades. It is a very good read/listen.
On the critical side, I found some of the mannerisms of the characters a bit too Western, and would have liked a more realistic Korean etiquette portrayed. Also there were a few wrinkles in the continuity, which always distracts me.
The reading was overall very believable, with a few actors doing a handful of voices in a dramatic reading. The choices in actors were perfect, delivering flawless accents and Korean pronunciation. Very much appreciated. Unfortunately, someone should have warned one actor that the diction "inpor'uhn'" and "eckspeshully" - despite being commonplace in America - are completely unacceptable in a professional reading.
Overall, I was entertained and challenged and thrilled. I recommend this story.
so well crafted...engrossing. Enlightening on a country of which we know nothing...hard to believe this fiction is such a real representation of a culture.
Incredulous story but based on what I've read /heard about North Korea it's right-on. Some of the scenes are brutal but the horror and violence is never gratuitous and I thought the descriptions were fairly brief (except that your mind will continue to contemplate that which is unsaid). I have listened to some books where I've had to fast-forward through certain parts that were just too horrifying for me to bear . This book took me to that edge several times but then I was pulled back from the horror just as I was feeling I couldn't take much more.
I bought this book long before I listened to it--kept putting it off because the violence would be too much. But I was drawn in right away and often couldn't hit the "stop" button... had many "driveway moments" and the dog got walked much longer some evenings bec. I just couldn't stop listening. Bravo to Adam Johnson for his research into such a dark place and his ability to present an incredible story of devotion, bravery, soul searching, and ultimate sacrifice for the sake of others.