by Dave Wheeler
There’s something tremendously exciting as a bookseller (and yes, ego-inflating) to learn that a book you loved — and frequently thrust into the hands of anyone and everyone — has proceeded to win a major award.
When I first read Adam Johnson’s The Orphan Master’s Son, my motive for getting so many others to read it was simply to have people with whom I could discuss its twisty-turny, exceedingly thrilling story. It was a book I found thematically difficult at first, and frequently pondered over with every new report on current events in North Korea. I pushed it on my boyfriend. I loaned it to my friend who reads most things I recommend. I put it on our Staff Recommendations display.
And, most recently, I sent my signed, first-edition to Nashville last month, with a friend who lives there now and had been visiting a short while. (And I hope to God he recognizes just exactly how awesome a friend I am.)
Sure, we in this business of books were all hoping for a Pulitzer in fiction this year, after last year’s three-way-tie debacle between The Pale King (David Foster Wallace); Swamplandia! (Karen Russell); and Train Dreams (Denis Johnson). So you can imagine how compounded my glee has been since they announced The Orphan Master’s Son won the prize!
I can’t stress enough how engaging this novel is, how much I want everyone to read it, and I know a prize like the one Adam Johnson won will help others find it. So, from my humble Internet real estate, I just want to send a hearty Congratulations! out to Adam Johnson for his much-deserved achievement.