This is a hard book to talk about. Mainly because I didn't like it that much, but I'm finding it hard to pinpoint the reason why... Also I finished it about 2 months ago, so it's not exactly fresh in my memory, hehe. (And this is why I shouldn't neglect my blog!).
For those who don't know (which I'm guessing is.. nobody? But I'm going to write it anyway!), the story is set in North Korea, and follows Jun Do (apparently a take on John Doe, which I didn't notice at all until I read it afterwards. Maybe I'm thick.) as he goes from living in an orphanage, to working to the state, and then.. well, to say anything else would spoil it, so I won't.
First, the good things about this book. It's written well, and has some funny/horrifying moments in it (both of which I like). The plot is interesting?
..Yup that's it.
Onto the more negative aspects...
The first one is completely my fault, but I was in no way giving the book enough attention when I started reading it, so got REALLY confused about a third of the way through... and realised the only way to end the confusion would be to go back and read the book from the beginning again. So that was irritating. Bad Jenny!
The main thing that I found irritating about this is that the characters sounded so American when they were speaking to each other. I have several Korean friends, and that is NOT what they sound like when they speak in English, and although I don't actually understand much Korean, the grammar etc. is very similar to Japanese, and the way that Japanese people express themselves is nothing like American English. It just sort of took me out of the story. There was also a part related to Japan which just strook me as slightly off.
Also, I think that this book might be interesting if you knew absolutely nothing about North Korea, but I do know stuff about it, and the stuff in the book at certain points just did not seem in any way realistic. Which is okay, but I didn't realise before I started reading it that I was going to have to imagine that it was about an imaginary North Korea. I feel like it would have annoyed me less had it just been about an imaginary country.
Anyway. I don't know. I don't really get the praise that the book is having heaped on it.. But that might just be because I didn't come into the book knowing absolutely nothing. Maybe if I had, then I would have enjoyed it more.
Oh man... This sounds like the kind of novel that thinks it's really clever, and that other people think is really clever but actually everyone is just equally stupid. I'm definitely going to skip it because if I read it now, I'd just be like 'well, this is all bullshit because my friend in Japan says so'!返信削除
Haha, although admittedly I've never been to North Korea (I have been to South Korea.. mmm, Korean food), so for all I know it could be exactly as described, but somehow I doubt it. Some of it was just.. too much, you know? And this is why I avoid all books that have something to do with Japan, unless they were written by somebody who has actually spent a decent amount of time here. Or someone Japanese, of course!削除
I didn't mention this in the review, but this book also had one of my pet peeves in it, in that some characters learn English and then can magically understand EVERYTHING in English and say whatever they want to, because that's how learning a language works...?! I would like something that I read at some point to approach the whole learning another language thing with even a little bit of realism. Ho hum.