Liz's Reviews > The Orphan Master's Son

The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson
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's review
Jul 17, 2012

it was amazing
Read in July, 2012

I've never had so much fun reading a book about North Korea. In fact, this book was so entertaining, fantastical, and irreverent, I almost felt bad about enjoying it so much. It's refreshing to read a book about North Korea written by an actually good writer rather than a someone telling the story due to circumstance (prison camp survivor, defector, historian, diplomat...). While those books are meaningful and important, and I've read just about all of them...sometimes they're not the best storytellers, even if the story they are telling is utterly heartwrenching. And that's why fiction exists, because fiction can sometimes convey a story better than reality can.

It takes a lot of courage to write a novel set in a country where very little of daily life is known to the outside world. Adam Johnson did his research but also wasn't scared to fill in the gaps with his imagination either. When I first picked this book up, I had my doubts about the age-old question "who is authorized to tell a story?", but in the end this book was too awesome to spend time debating this question. I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a fantastically-written read about North Korea.

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