“Feeling the love” in Croatia: Adam Johnson and The Orphan Master’s Son



Pulitzer prizewinning Adam Johnson (The Orphan Master’s Son) is “feeling the love in Croatia.” This photo, with his kidlets, was taken by his wife Stephanie Harrell. Clearly, there’s a lot of talent for photography in the family – we’ve already posted daughter Jupiter‘s photo here.  Earlier this month, Adam was fiction winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, a celebration that awarded author Tim O’Brien as well. Adam is currently on an around-the-world gig  promoting his surreal novel about the twisted lives in today’s North Korea – we’ve written about it here and here and here.  Today’s photo and Adam’s book are timely in a more chilling way: we’ve just learned that Merrill Newman of Palo Alto, the 85-year-old Stanford alum and Korea vet, has been arrested and detained while visiting North Korea as a tourist. According to his Newman’s son, “The basic fact of the matter is that this gentleman is 84-85 yrs old, an elderly man, presumably not a threat in any way to North Korea, so this is, even by North Korean standards, an extraordinary thing.”

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5 Responses to ““Feeling the love” in Croatia: Adam Johnson and The Orphan Master’s Son

  1. Stephen Says:

    That’s a terrible thing about Merrill Newman, though the national media seems now to be mentioning his plight (at least Fox did this afternoon), so perhaps diplomatic pressure will soon effect his release. This reminds me once again of how vicious these regimes are. I recently came across (in TLS, article linked below) the following lines by Danilo Kiš on these tyrannical regimes, lines with which I think Brodsky would have agreed: “I claim that the universal history of infamy is the twentieth century with its camps–Soviet camps most of all. Infamy is when in the name of the idea of a better world for which entire generations have perished, in the name of a humanistic idea, you build camps and conceal their existence and destroy both people and their most intimate dreams of that better world.”


  2. Dwight Says:

    Thanks for the many mentions of Johnson’s novel. I saw a copy at the library yesterday and checked it out. I’m really enjoying it!

  3. Cynthia Haven Says:

    You’ll have a long Thanksgiving weekend, and you’ll be grateful you live here.

  4. Cynthia Haven Says:

    Thank you for this, Stephen.

  5. Neha Sharma Says:

    This book gives an entertaining and devastating view of life in a totalitarian regime. It illuminates the ways thinking get distorted when all information is controlled, and truth is what the leader chooses. It is sad and poignant. My main problem with the book was in accepting the basically good and loving hero. The author does not explore how this caring person developed in a life of almost constant fear, hunger, pain, lack of love, violence, etc.