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Vida Roubada Vencedor do pr mio PulitzerUma saga de amor, esperan a e reden o no pa s mais fechado do mundo Vida Roubada segue a vida de Pak Jun Do, um jovem no pa s com a ditadura mais sombria do mundo a Coreia do Norte Jun Do o filho atormentado de uma cantora misteriosa e de um pai dominante que gere um orfanato nesse orfanato que tem as suas primeiras experi ncias de poder, escolhendo os rf os que comem primeiro e os que s o enviados para trabalhos for ados Reconhecido pela sua lealdade, Jun Do inicia a ascens o na hierarquia do Estado e envereda por uma estrada da qual n o ter retorno Considerando se um cidad o humilde da maior na o do mundo , Jun Do torna se raptor profissional e ter de resistir viol ncia arbitr ria dos seus l deres para poder sobreviver Mas ent o que, levado ao limite, ousa assumir o papel do maior rival do Querido L der Kim Jon Il, numa tentativa de salvar a mulher que ama, a lend ria atriz Sun Moon Em parte thriller, em parte hist ria de amor, Vida Roubada um retrato cruel de uma Coreia do Norte dominada pela fome, corrup o e viol ncia Mas onde, estranhamente, tamb m encontramos beleza e amor saidadeemergencia I don t understand the accolades this book has been getting I did read it during a week of awful flu, and the slowness of getting into it may have been partly attributable to that It s certainly clever, and Johnson is nothing if not inventive But I couldn t get past the use of North Korea as a setting, which seemed like a meretricious trick to me There s certainly a lot of superficial North Korean trappings, loudspeakers, prison mines, references to starvation, and the theater of Kim Jong I I don t understand the accolades this book has been getting I did read it during a week of awful flu, and the slowness of getting into it may have been partly attributable to that It s certainly clever, and Johnson is nothing if not inventive But I couldn t get past the use of North Korea as a setting, which seemed like a meretricious trick to me There s certainly a lot of superficial North Korean trappings, loudspeakers, prison mines, references to starvation, and the theater of Kim Jong Il, and his personality cult, provide part of the engine of the plot But there s no attempt to understand what any of that could mean to real people or real characters it s just the setting for a rowdy picaresque adventure that goes on a bit too long and is rather too wordy Johnson s descriptions of nature are particularly painful , and the place where Johnson works out a bunch of sort of shopworn ideas about identity, loyalty and deception that are not as interesting as he thinks they are, and that all take place in the head there are almost no emotions in this book It sort of distresses me to read that this is satire it s ridiculous and over the top, with its secret plane landings on Texas ranches for taco parties but doesn t satire require that the thing being held up to ridicule isn t already inherently absurd I don t really understand the purpose of satirizing North Korea it s not as if they ll read this book and say, oh, how insightful And I am somewhat saddened that people feel that they are learning about North Korea from this jumble of scraps of information and salacious details I wish people would read Barbara Demick s Nothing to Envy Lives of Ordinary People in North Korea the powerful non fiction depictions of utter deprivation, totalizing social control and the struggle to survive make Orphan Master s dramatic plot twists look cheap and flimsy.Oh well, I know I m way in the minority on this one In a stunning feat of imagination, Johnson puts us inside Jun Do yep, John Doe , a North Korean orphan who stumbles from poverty to a job as body double for a Hero of the Eternal Revolution The closed world of North Korea revealed here where businessmen are conscripted to work in the rice fields and the ruthless Kim Jong il is still the Dear Leader goes beyond anything Orwell ever imagined The Orphan Master s Son veers from cold terror to surrealistic humor with ease, and succeeds as both a t In a stunning feat of imagination, Johnson puts us inside Jun Do yep, John Doe , a North Korean orphan who stumbles from poverty to a job as body double for a Hero of the Eternal Revolution The closed world of North Korea revealed here where businessmen are conscripted to work in the rice fields and the ruthless Kim Jong il is still the Dear Leader goes beyond anything Orwell ever imagined The Orphan Master s Son veers from cold terror to surrealistic humor with ease, and succeeds as both a thriller and a social satire Put it on your shelf next to Catch 22 CITIZENS, gather round the individualistic screens of your capitalistically exploited folding computers and other pocket sized computational devices The Dear Reviewer has much omniscient wisdom and many synoptic truths to impart Set aside your Facebook and Twitter feeds and summon every last ounce of patriotic love for and devotion to the Democratic People s Republic of Goodreads in order to focus your cluttered Western minds and screen worn eyes for several uninterrupted minutes on this upda CITIZENS, gather round the individualistic screens of your capitalistically exploited folding computers and other pocket sized computational devices The Dear Reviewer has much omniscient wisdom and many synoptic truths to impart Set aside your Facebook and Twitter feeds and summon every last ounce of patriotic love for and devotion to the Democratic People s Republic of Goodreads in order to focus your cluttered Western minds and screen worn eyes for several uninterrupted minutes on this update of paramount significance from your Dear Reviewer END TRANSMISSION A Terse Intrusion of Self AwarenessI ve been really fascinated and concerned with North Korea for years now I didn t suddenly take an interest now that I ve ex patriated to South Korea, to Incheon,specifically, which is a mid sized metropolis only a handful of miles from the mine filled border separating N S Korea But I can t deny that reading this book now after a few months of becomingintimate with Korean culture and history, both through Korean people and the further reading of books and viewing of documentaries 1 doesn t have some influence on my reading I just don t know exactly what that influence is In any case, I find these kind of meta review musings to quickly become tiresome at this point in my GRing career and only worth a severely limited number of keystrokes, so I ll leave it to rest right here 1 Kimjongilia A fantastic documentary largely consisting of interviews with former North Koreans who ve managed to escape the country.Crossing the Line A documentary about a former US Army soldier who willingly crossed the DMZ in the early 60 s and defected to North Korea He s lived there for 46 years A truly bizarre story Fascinating stuff Watch the whole thing on YouTube here.A State of Mind A documentary about two young girls training for North Korea s annual, jaw dropping spectacle known as Mass Games Whole thing is here.Inside North Korea One of the first documentaries I watched Another fascinating look into the country Watch it here Nothing to Envy Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick Read the first chapter online here.Exploded Preconceptions The Orphan Master s Son really defied and surpassed my expectations in at least two basic ways 1 As a whole, this novel was evenenjoyable and impressive than I was excitedly expecting based upon this great review of it the review that instantly caused my cursor to float over the add to my books button and my finger to give the clicking go ahead.2 Once inside the book it circumnavigated my plot point projections and hypotheses and went in directions both in story and style that I didn t possibly see coming, not in the slightest.Begin With Not Knowing Where To BeginThe book is jam packed with so much well crafted, deeply researched and deftly executed writing that it s difficult to know where to begin, and like with many great books, when I get down into trenches of the review I have to eventually just leave my desire to drop in copious details and potential spoilers at the door and just go ahead give the mountain top view in panoramic snapshots I ll forego all plot overviews and focus on stylistic and thematic ones For a good synopsis see the one in the above linked review and couple that with the publisher s for good measure Positioning the PenThe prose is rich without being decadent There s a beautiful restraint and writerly self control to be felt that also doesn t sacrifice beauty for utility or baroque verbosity for inelegance or bareness It reminded me in a distant way of the pitch perfection of several other language master authors that have little else in common, namely the recent efforts of both Ben Marcus and Heidi Julavits.I read a lot of experimental surreal fiction, and love much of it, and this book is so reality based and amazingly well researched yet since it s based on such a strange, time warp reality such as North Korea, it sometimes brushes up against similarly bizarre tones and registers but with theextreme heartrending ends that seriously reality based fiction can deliver on its best days.So many vivid descriptions are stuck to my memory now The roiling black waters of the freezing ocean The slowly suffocating shark s eyes being stupid with death The nightly pitch black of Pyongyang The unthinkable hunger of comrades The terrible blue flash of would be escapees colliding with electric fences The daily propagandistic bombardment of the omnipresent loudspeaker in e ry housing block, factory and street corner The barely imaginable callousness and sadism of professional interrogators and the barely imaginable pain they inflict upon those they pry confessions from The grateful and desperate eating of things like flowers, cow s blood, and the raw flesh of snared song birds The ability to sacrifice human life both one s own and one s loved ones in circumstances most modern human beings find utterly mind boggling to contemplate, if contemplated seriously at all.Soldering the StructureThroughout the vast latter portion of the book the narrative bounces back and forth between two basic periods not too distant from each other one revealing some very major developments to come in the other But there s some doubt about the reliability of the narration that s planted by the ingenious use of multiple POVs and contradictory accounts of the same incidents, namely that of The State via Loudspeaker Propaganda and those of individual citizens, those of which often lie to themselves and to one another, as is the natural outcome in an environment simmering with such potent levels of fear and paranoia But even in knowing the tragic outcomes of various narrative strands I still found myself so enthralled, gripping my stupid but necessary Kindle with widened eyes, and under the spell of a totally bought into hope n desire for the Good Guys To Win, for Happy Resolutions to blossom at the tips of such storied trajectories I rooted for our protagonists all the way, hope against hope That s the sign of a truly riveting book one that can tell you rather explicitly that things won t work out the way you want them to and yet there you are, hungrily flipping pages, hoping and wanting all the same.Capitalism v CommunismTo not put too fine a point on it let me start with a blunt assertion The problem is tyranny, the consolidation of too much power in too few hands, and a lack of blending the best of both socio economic models that falls somewhere in the range of social democracies of the sort we see in large parts of Western Europe today The US seems a good candidate for the poster boy for all that Capitalism does wrong its excesses, its moral callousness, its severe intrusion into and subsequent sullying of the democratic process, and so forth And North Korea is a perfect example of all that Communism does wrong reducing the individual to total subservience to the State, stifling creativity and innovation in favor of narrow utility, the willingness to tyrannically punish and censor and limit people s ability to criticize the State, and so forth Both forces if not tempered by the good of their opposition, have the tendency to lead to dire consequences.As much as I detest North Korea, thinking deeply about it is a legitimate exercise of the noblest aspirations of Liberal Democracy and culturally sensitive philosophy Of course, my final analysis remainsor less the same which is that NK is a monstrous dictatorship that ideally would fall and be absorbed by the South but in taking the time and effort to somewhat suspend judgment and vigorously question my presuppositions, I felt a renewed confidence in such assessments and a deeper appreciation for the relatively flawed as they may be positions I tend to take on, not only governmental and economic structures but on ethics itself North Korea is fucked up So is America But they re not equally fucked up, and in this stance I find something redeeming, something that is obvious at first glance to many already convinced of the goodness of certain ideologies, but something I now feel doubly confident in after having given myself over to the very real possibility that my blind spots are just as blind and convincing as those whom I witness as unfortunate victims of brutally degrading tyrannical states.Love and TransparencyOne of the great, enduring messages of the book is simply that love is being totally honest with another person This trite truism could be easily cast aside by jaded, modern, 21st century sophisticates ahem but put into the context of a story where people are constantly getting their stories straight, being turned in to the secret police and sent off to labor camps by their own friends and family, in a constant game of concealing their true feelings and true identities, well, it becomes a magnificent thing to behold in such a place Please read this book and find out for yourself exactly what I mean by all of this I don t think you ll regret it This is not an easy book to read It preys on the minds of readers, on the fears and hopes that stem from our deeply ingrained cultural concepts, our habitual comfortable worldview It takes you to the place where you can no longer be sure what is based in reality and what is the result of an absurdist deeply satirical interpretation of it.This is a book that s set in North Korea, and its protagonist is cleverly perhaps overly so named Jun Do that is, John Doe , the North Korean everyman, This is not an easy book to read It preys on the minds of readers, on the fears and hopes that stem from our deeply ingrained cultural concepts, our habitual comfortable worldview It takes you to the place where you can no longer be sure what is based in reality and what is the result of an absurdist deeply satirical interpretation of it.This is a book that s set in North Korea, and its protagonist is cleverly perhaps overly so named Jun Do that is, John Doe , the North Korean everyman, I guess It spotlights the deeply disturbing aspects of the life in this isolated strange place the propaganda, the police state, the prison camps, the torture interrogations, the power of the state over individuals, the hunger, the poverty, the exploitation, the lies, the cruelty, the resignation of many to their fate, the mistrust, the crazed leaders, the corrupt almost surreal regimeWhere we are from, he said, stories are factual If a farmer is declared a music virtuoso by the state, everyone had better start calling him maestro And secretly, he d be wise to start practicing the piano For us, the story isimportant than the person If a man and his story are in conflict, it is the man who must changeThere s scarcely a page that is not disturbing in one way or another to its intended Western ized reader There are scenes that are so suddenly graphic and painful that they will forever be etched into my memory like a tattoo, if you allow me to use that comparisonA certain tattoo worn over a heart is quite important in this book, just so you know And there is not a page that does not in one way or another condemn totalitarian propaganda based way of running the lives of people and the horrific ways little people get run over by the relentless machine of the State But here s the thing that kept nagging at me in that little but persistent voice that was impossible to ignore The main punch of this book is the setting the very real country of North Korea, perhaps the most isolated place in the world, built around the idol like worship of its leaders, shrouded in secrets that are impenetrable to the outsiders and likely to its own people This is the society that the Western ized countries tend to view as one giant prison camp that exists in its own warped version of reality, a threatening surreal enigma to the outsiders.No wonder that a book about such a place, written by an outsider who has visited it once on a state sanctioned tour and talked to select few who managed to escape, would have to heavily rely on speculations, assumptions, and rumors The desire to give voice to the people of that country whose voices we likely will never hear has to be significantly helped just by imagination of the writer that s a sad fact And that s exactly where I came upon my stumbling block What can Adam Johnson, an American, really know about the lives of North Koreans, other than imagine them as the embodiment of the Westerner s worst nightmares How John Doe can his Jun Do be to real North Koreans I believe that Johnson managed to at least somewhat capture the oppressive spirit of the life in North Korea But the truth is, the reality no matter how terrifying, sad and atrocious it may be remains inaccessible to us, and it s hard to write from the heart of something when you have no real knowledge of it After all, the Soviets and the Westerners have written and imagined plenty of atrocities about each other, and yet none of them managed to actually capture the essence of the world so foreign to themReal stories like this, human ones, could get you sent to prison, and it didn t matter what they were about It didn t matter if the story was about an old woman or a squid attack if it diverted emotion from the Dear Leader, it was dangerousI think I d prefer it had this book been just a speculation only, perhaps a glimpse into a fictional dystopian society like Orwell s 1984, for instance , and not presented as representing the life in a real country full of real people because then I d be able to allow both my brain and my heart to run with the story, to fully feel the horror and hopelessness and desperation and outrage instead of always keeping myself in check by involuntary reminders that I will never know what is real and what is created to capitalize on our society s deep fears stemming from our culture s ingrained values And when it comes to the lives of a whole real country, these uncertainties, these questions of what is real and what is there just to make me have a desired reaction suddenly become a real huge deal to meWhat happened Buc asked him I told her the truth about something, Ga answered You ve got to stop doing that, Buc said It s bad for people s healthIf I let my apprehensions about this book slide, I can appreciate the story a bitIt s definitely written well, with interesting and skillful alternations between narrators with their distinct voices, with gentle transition between the roles of Jun Do into which he s thrust by cruel fate, the willingness of the book to explore the disturbing sides of life It manages to both keep you uneasy and yet willing to read to the end, even if you already have a good idea of what s to come The language manages to walk the thin line between powerful and yet unobtrusive quite well The parts that take place on the sea were my favorite, with the haunting melancholic quality that permeated the pages, with descriptions so vivid and memorable, with palpable sense of loneliness and quiet longing that is hard to forget The weak point, however, were the characters themselves They did feel like the vehicles to drive the plot forward, created to fulfill very specific roles and not extending much past their niche The inclusion of the Great Leader himself felt purely commercial, as the strange figure of now dead North Korean leader is bound to elicit just the right emotions from the reader And Sun Moon, the actress who becomes a shining beacon in Jun Do s life, elicited little but irritation from me, her later reveals to Jun Do nonwithstanding It s telling when you can really root for the characters to succeed in their daring mission because you really cannot bring yourself to care for those the mission is for At the end, it s the spoiled and privileged who benefit of course but I somehow doubt that it was the intended message Would I recommend this book It s hard to say The Pulitzer people surely saw something really special in it, and they must knowabout literature and literary merit than yours truly I d recommend it with a disclaimer read it if you are not the type to be constantly preoccupied with doubts about the truths versus imagination in this story, read it if you can out these concerns temporarily aside and focus on the emotional punches of the story focusing on little people in the horrific totalitarian propaganda state 3 stars

  • Paperback
  • 480 pages
  • Vida Roubada
  • Adam Johnson
  • Portuguese
  • 06 September 2018

About the Author: Adam Johnson

Adam Johnson was born in South Dakota and raised in Arizona He earned a BA in Journalism from Arizona State University in 1992 a MFA from the writing program at McNeese State University, in 1996 and a PhD in English from Florida State University in 2000 Johnson is currently a San Francisco writer and associate professor in creative writing at Stanford University He founded the Stanford Graphic Novel Project and was named one of the nation s most influential and imaginative college professors by Playboy Magazine His fiction has appeared in Esquire, Harper s, and The Paris Review He is the author of Emporium, a short story collection and the novel, Parasites Like Us, which won the California Book Award His most recent novel, The Orphan Master s Son, won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.


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