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Julia Wagner has commented on (2) products.

The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson
The Orphan Master's Son

Julia Wagner, January 18, 2013

A North Korean counterpart to Dicken's David Copperfield, "Jun Do," the protagonist of this fascinating book, attempts first to survive and then to thrive in a society that initially rejects him. If Johnson's book were only about this journey, it would be worth recommending as a primer about life in what may be the most repressive political system in the world. But it is also something more, and something perhaps even more compelling, insomuch as it explores the value of telling stories--particularly when the power of a state resides not only, or not even primarily, in naked control, but much more in its ability to keep citizens involved in compelling narratives even as they are dying of hunger.
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Toby's Room by Pat Barker
Toby's Room

Julia Wagner, January 1, 2013

Burrows further down into the British home front during World War I through the same society of art students covered in her previous book. Barker has never left this topic since her earlier forays, and one expects the subject to have been exhausted by now. It hasn't though, as this novel shows. I hope I'm not being too forward if I recommend this book particularly to those who have returned from today's conflicts.
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