Friday, April 13, 2012

The Orphan Master's Son

My favorite book of the year so far is, hands down, The Orphan Master's Son. A novel set in contemporary North Korea, The Orphan Master's Son is not for the faint of heart. Author Adam Johnson takes readers deep into mines and concentration camps, detailing the horrific ways in which lives are ended. There are unsuspecting Japanese citizens, plucked by North Korean agents right off of beaches and fishing piers, never to be seen in their homeland ever again.

But despite all of this murder, kidnapping, and starvation, all is not lost. The novel ends with a daring defection that takes place right under the nose of Kim Jong Il, the Dear Leader himself. Sure, there is a terrible price to be paid for Pak Jun Do, the man (and lead character) who made the defection possible, but it is in committing this deadly treason that Jun Do finally resolves his identity and feels freedom.

Stay tuned...It is not much of a stretch to bet that, over the next couple of decades, there will be a burst of compelling stories, fact and fiction, emanating from the horrors of North Korea. It will be through such accounts that the beauty and dignity of the North Korean people will finally be fully revealed to the world.

~Steve

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