Last week, a book called "The Orphan Master's Son" was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Adam Johnson's novel imagines what life is like for citizens of North Korea. I spoke with Adam Johnson last year about his book. And to mark his Pulitzer, we'd like to revisit that interview. In it, Johnson explained that as part of his research, he actually managed to finagle a visit to North Korea. He said his government minders maintained tight control over his itinerary but they couldn't hide everything.
Adam Johnson's The Orphan Master's Son, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction Monday, captures the privation and absurdity of life in North Korea in one sentence: "For breakfast, she murdered an onion and served it raw."
The novel is a surreal, feverish look at North Korea under Kim Jong Il. The protagonist Jun Do (a play on "John Doe") grows up in an orphanage, and serves under Kim as a professional kidnapper before deciding to rebel against the state.