Of course this book is fiction and the plot is farfetched. However, I strongly recommend reading this as a companion to Robert Collins' seminal work on the the north Korean social system which can be downloaded at this link from the Human Rights north Korea web site: http://www.hrnk.org/uploads/pdfs/HRNK_Songbun_Web.pdf
What this book does in a tragic but entertaining way is illustrate the brutallity of the north Korea social system that is in place in the north. Anyone who wants to try to understand north Korean society needs to read Robert Collins report but this work of fiction below will bring the tragedy to life.
Posted: Feb. 9, 2013 at 8:55 AM
Book Review: Truth or fiction from North Korea?
Adam Johnson’s novel The Orphan Master’s Son (Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2012) traces the twisted yet fantastical life of a young North Korean nobody called Pak Jun Do (a Korean play off “John Doe”). It received positive reviews (including one from WORLD), but also stirred discussions about how much of its content is true. Few critics disagree that Johnson’s book makes an entertaining read, but should a book about North Korea entertain at all?
Johnson’s interest in North Korea started in 2004, when he first read about the country’s Soviet gulag-style prison camps. As a well-educated professor at Stanford University, Johnson said he was “shocked” at his ignorance—and fascinated by how such brutal concentration camps could still exist in the 21st century without much being done or said about them For more than a year, he read up on North Korea as much as he could, becoming “mildly obsessed” about the subject before he even realized he was writing: “It just came into life.”
Johnson isn’t the first American to author a book about North Korea. But most are nonfiction books that detail the experiences of North Korean defectors. Blaine Harden’s Escape from Camp 14 and Melanie Kirkpatrick’s Escape from North Korea, both released last year, are examples. Their works portray grim snapshots of prison camp life, where campers are worked literally to death on a few handfuls of corn gruel a day.
(Continued at the link below)