a staggering look inside a demonic country. I can only assume that most of it is true. the very facelessness of the oppressed people is used masterfully by Johnson-- characters are doubled and find themselves vying against versions of themselves created by the state to thwart their spirit -- which I found narratively challenging. but his landscape and emotional atmosphere is fantatically conjured-- he creates a North Korea so rich in human breath and foible, where for me before there was nothing but a cipher. Incredible achievement of a novel. Not even funny, how unusual a thing he has conjured not out of thin air, but out of strange, distant, inaccessible air.
Richard Ford's weighty novel on a tragic American family, where the father (a former Air Force man and failed businessman) and mother (intelligent, cynical) decide to rob a bank in Montana. Point of view is their son Dell, who is taken to a remote prairie town in Sasketchawan and raised by neer do wells. Very moving, lengthy meditation on childhood, America, human fate and goodness.