An epic novel and a thrilling literary discovery, The Orphan Master’s Son follows a young man’s journey through the icy waters, dark tunnels, and eerie spy chambers of the world’s most mysterious dictatorship, North Korea. Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother—a singer “stolen” to... read more
“Jun Do's men would vie to be the ones to slip out and wander South Korea for a while. They'd come back with stories of machines that handed out money and people who picked up dog shit and put it in bags. Jun Do never looked. He knew the televisions were huge and there was all the rice you could eat. Yet he wanted no part of it - he was scared if he saw it with his own eyes, his entire life would mean nothing. Stealing turnips from an old man who'd gone blind from hunger? That would have been for nothing. Sending another boy instead of himself to clean vats at the paint factory? For nothing.”
“"And what if you do make it around the world - how do you wait in line for your dormitory toilet again,knowing that you've been to America? Maybe the millet tasted better in some other country and the loudspeakers weren't so tinny. Suddenly it's your tap water that smells not so good - then what do you do?"”the Second Mate
“"Now take my hand," he told me. I put my small hand in his, and then his mouth became sharp with hate. He shouted, "I denounce this citizen as an imperialist puppet who should be remanded to stand trial for crimes against the state." His face was red, venomous. "I have witnessed him spew capitalist diatribes in an effort to poison our minds with his traitorous filth." The old men turned from their game to observe us.I was terrified, on the verge of crying. My father said, "See, my mouth said that, but my hand, my hand was holding yours. If your mother ever must say something like that to me, in order to protect to the two of you, know that inside, she and I are holding hands. And if someday you must say something like that to me, I will know it's not really you. That's inside. Inside is where the son and the father will always be holding hands."”The Interrogator
“"How could you not keep count?"”Pak Jun Do
“...in communism, you'd threaten a dog into compliance, while in capitalism, obedience is obtained through bribes.”
“The first day in a tunnel is no problem, but when you wake on the second day from the darkness of a dream into true darkness, that's when your eyes must open. If you keep your eyes closed, your mind will show you all kinds of crazy movies, like a dog attacking you from behind. But with your eyes open, all you had to face was the nothingness of what you were really doing.”un Do
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