Short Book Review: The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

The Orphan Master's Son
SBR: One would pick this book up simply because how often you get the opportunity to put real human faces on those mythical people living in North Korea? Unfortunately, the book ends up putting an American’s words into North Korean mouths. Irrespective of whether you agree or disagree with what those words imply, the sentiment isn’t authentic.
Admittedly, the author didn’t have it easy. I read an interview with the author, where he described how difficult it was for a foreigner to get access to a common man living in North Korea (we only hear those who fled). So, he tried his best. But didn’t succeed.
To read or not to read: Skip unless you are really running out of reading material. If you are curious about North Korea, look elsewhere, probably in non-fiction.

Short Book Review: The Sceptical Patriot by Sidin Vadukut

The Sceptical Patriot
SBR: High on intent, low on content. The idea is good. The Sceptical Patriot wants to find out how authentic the patriotic claims about India’s greatness you keep receiving  in email forwards and Facebook posts are. But there just isn’t enough content about the issue at hand for it make a book. It would have been better off published as an article. To create a book the content has been padded unbearably with personal anecdotes that have no connection whatsoever with questions at hand.
To read or not to read: Wait for a better book on the topic. Or try to find out if the author has written an article on the subject. That might be enough.

Short Book Review: The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

The Blind Assassin
SBR: There can be no doubt about the quality of writing given the Margaret Atwood’s reputation. But The Blind Assassin leads to nothing and is still super-long. So, it’s difficult to justify the time it takes to read the book. The suspense, which is the meat of the story, is manipulated, not natural at all. You feel cheated in the end.
To read or not to read: This is the only book by the author that I have read (decided to start with the Man Booker Prize winner!). But my guess is that I would have been better off reading something else. So would you, I think, unless you are a fan and want to read all of her books. In which case, go ahead!