Close Notification

Your cart does not contain any items

The Orphan Master's Son

Barack Obama's Summer Reading Pick 2019

Adam Johnson



Not in-store but you can order this
How long will it take?


Black Swan
02 April 2013
WINNER - Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2013

Citizens of our beloved Democratic Republic of North Korea! Imagine the life of an orphan boy from nowhere who is plucked from his orphanage by the military, to be trained as a tunnel assassin, a kidnapper, a spy. He has no father but the State, no sweetheart but Sun Moon, the greatest opera star who ever lived, whose face is tattooed on his chest. Imagine he lives in our very own country, a model of exemplary Communism. A nation that is the envy of the world, especially the Americans. Where the only human stories people need to hear are those blasting out of loudspeakers to the glory of our dear Leader, Kim Jong il. Citizens! Who is this individual? What is his story? Who will remember him? Pak Jun Do is his name: wrestler of sharks, envoy to Texan barbecues, imposter extraordinaire, whose murderous biography has only come to light through the talents and stamina of our most patriotic interrogators. Dry your eyes now, comrades!

This is the double-life story of a hero and martyr: the Greatest North Korean Love Story Ever Told. An iconoclastic work of fiction, part thriller, part coming-of-age story, part love story. Dark, playful and genre-defying, its searing depiction of one man’s epic journey through the surrealist brutality of North Korea shines a fierce light on the essence of the human condition. Warning: Any resemblance to real people and events may not be entirely coincidental.

Judge's Citation: Awarded to "The Orphan Master's Son" by Adam Johnson (Random House), an exquisitely crafted novel that carries the reader on an adventuresome journey into the depths of totalitarian North Korea and into the most intimate spaces of the human heart.
By:   Adam Johnson
Imprint:   Black Swan
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 127mm,  Spine: 37mm
Weight:   399g
ISBN:   9780552778251
ISBN 10:   0552778257
Pages:   592
Publication Date:   02 April 2013
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Adam Johnson teaches creative writing at Stanford University. He is the award-winning author of Emporium, a short story collection, and the novel Parasites Like Us. His fiction has appeared in Esquire, Harper's, Paris Review, Playboy, Tin House and Best American Short Stories. His new novel THE ORPHAN MASTER'S SON was excerpted by Granta, and featured on the NYT bestsellers' list.

Reviews for The Orphan Master's Son: Barack Obama's Summer Reading Pick 2019

An addictive novel of daring ingenuity; a study of sacrifice and freedom in a citizen-eating dynasty; and a timely reminder that anonymous victims of oppression are also human beings who love. A brave and impressive book -- David Mitchell, Author Of The Thousand Autumns Of Jacob De Zoet A flamboyantly grim epic of totalitarianism. this larger-than-life, two-fisted picaresque manages to be a page-turner... an ambitious book The Sunday Times One of those books where you know you've found yourself in the hands of someone who can really tell a story, and is yet not naive about the artificiality of stories. The conceit is fantastic: a narration partly told through the loud speakers of the North Korean regime. -- Zadie Smith Fast-paced and intriguing. this complex, multi-voiced narrative will remind some readers of David Mitchell's similarly inventive tale, Cloud Atlas. It is magnificent Financial Times What we have here are the ingredients of an across-the-board smash hit: sympathetic characters, an exotic, unknowable setting and a plot that will carry you along more convincingly than any of the fictions used by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. -- David Annand Sunday Telegraph

See Also