Racquel's Reviews > The Orphan Master's Son

The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson
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's review
Apr 28, 2012

it was amazing
Read from April 28 to June 17, 2012

I'm currently listening to this book and as with all audible books, one always wonders if the experience is significantly changed by having the story told rather than read in silence. It is a haunting, haunting story, one that makes me slow down as I approach home so I can listen a bit longer.

I cannot know at this point how much of the background is based upon fact, I'm guessing that it's frighteningly accurate. But in truth, it doesn't matter because it's about the power of the story itself, the fiction rather than the non-fiction. There are moments of beautiful writing; a turn of phrase that grates pleasantly against the understanding that it's spoken by one who doesn't speak English natively. This past couple of years, I've been toying with the idea of a visit to North Korea and oddly, this book makes that visit seem more urgent, if only to assure myself that there is goodness to be found everywhere; even here in this most desperate land.

I have finished this book, perhaps one of five most extraordinary books I have read; perhaps the most extraordinary. It is “icky” on so many levels – poetic, horrific, fantastic, philosophic, epic. It describes a fictional world, yet we are unable to say with certainty what is real and what is not. Little is known about North Korea and so many of the “experts” are similarly in the dark; nothing is refutable. Because they have not encountered something in no way means that it does not exist. There is nothing here that has not been recounted in other places and other times and, sadly, proven true. A mesmerizing book; I am the better for having read it; I am the worse for having read it.
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