Douglas Perry's Reviews > The Orphan Master's Son

The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson
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Jan 22, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: fiction

"The Orphan Master's Son" is different. And that's no small thing. It's rare to find a truly original book. But originality only takes you so far. You still need a compelling story and fully realized characters, and this is where I had trouble with the novel. Adam Johnson's book follows a young North Korean soldier/kidnapper who, thanks to the upside-down, reality-denying world of North Korea's Dear Leader, manages to take on the identity of a national hero. The story is inventive but confusing and the characters never really come alive. If you enjoy reading first-rate prose for its own sake, you'll no doubt be satisfied here. But if you want to understand where you're going as you whip along the literary highway at 75 miles per hour, you'll want to skip this ride.
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