The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

This is a difficult but fascinating work of fiction. North Korea is probably the most secretive society that exists today. And yet the author, Adam Johnson has woven a tale of some individuals seeking answers that might only lead to their demise in this thoroughly autocratic nation. Even though this is a work of fiction, you can’t fail to realize that we are truly getting a look at this terribly closed society. As difficult as it is to deal with China, this small nation is even more difficult to understand. And yet there emerges a tale of individual bravery and attempts to defy the odds and seek true freedom.  Adam Johnson was able to get into North Korea and although monitored with “escorts,” he was able to return to Stanford, where he teaches.  From his memories and thoughts of his encounters in this very different society emerges a more detailed and nuanced picture of DPRK…..the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

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