New in Books:
The Orphan Master’s Son

Christopher Hitchens once referred to North Korea as a “slave state”, and there is little that has been revealed since about the curiously stunted upper half of that peninsula which would belie this definition. The night-and-day surveillance, the famines, the mind games and brainwashing, the at-gunpoint groupthink; it all conjures an image of a people who are bound to their overlords in every sense of the word. All of the Korean characters in Adam Johnson’s hyperbolic and icily rapturous novel are indeed slaves to the world-encompassing propaganda from the leadership’s impregnable underground bunkers. It’s like atmosphere, they don’t seem able to live without it. More terrifyingly, it’s not even clear that they would necessarily want to… 

The Orphan Master’s Son is on sale now; check it out. You can read my full review at PopMatters.

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