Adam Johnson on His Novel, The Orphan Master’s Son

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Adam Johnson describes his latest novel, The Orphan Master’s Son, which follows a young man’s journey through the icy waters, dark tunnels, and spy chambers of North Korea, the world’s most mysterious dictatorship. Part thriller, part story of innocence lost, part story of romantic love, the novel is a portrait of a world hidden from view: a North Korea rife with hunger, corruption, and casual cruelty but also camaraderie, beauty, and love.


Adam Johnson
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Comments [4]

anna from new york

Helen, I have more questions for the author:
Have he ever worked in the US? Have he interviewed anyone with actual experience of working in wonderful, wonderful American workplace? Have he met anyone who worked in wonderful, wonderful American workplace and kept his/her identity? Have he met anyone who actually worked in wonderful wonderful American workplace and is NOT a "MARCHING ZOMBIE" functioning on the level "I love my job (all seventy hours a week of it) and my boss (particularly all the tortures he/she invents), strategic planning, team working, whining etc."
Leonard, I have a question to you too:
Why interview someone who clearly received his education (like most Americans) under some desk ("the Russians are coming, the Russians") and is able to function only on the level of propaganda?

Feb. 01 2012 01:36 PM
Tina from Queens

Fascinating subject - North Korea - (at least for me). I will buy the book.
Just wanted to bring to your attention that, on NetFlix, under documentaries, there is a film about North Korea. About a group of Ophtalmologists who went there to treat some ten thousand (?) cataracts. A national geographic worker joined them, as a "part of the medical team" but took footage. It's unbelievable! It's a must see.

Feb. 01 2012 01:31 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

I've never understood why people read fiction, when there is so many real things to read about. But I guess no work of fiction could fully express the horrors of the North Korean slave state, anymore than it could the Holocaust.

Feb. 01 2012 01:27 PM
Helen from manhattan

Has the author ever lived in North Korea? Did he interview anyone who lived there? How does he set the stage? I heard him speak of gulags, but has he spoken to anyone with a North Korean experience instead of a Russian one?

Feb. 01 2012 01:23 PM

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