As some of you know, I spend part of my time editing works of other novelists. Different editors have different strengths – mine is word flow and characters. I try to make it so you forget that you are reading and are instead living the lives of realistic characters, even though they find themselves in situations you could never imagine.
One of the novels I edited, The Silla Project, has been well-deservedly selected as a finalist for the Montaigne Medal. Each year, this honor is given out by the Eric Hoffer Awards to the book or books considered to be the “most thought-provoking.” The books considered for it are those “that either illuminate, progress, or redirect thought.”
Having spent more than a month of my life with The Silla Project, it fits that description perfectly. The fast paced, suspenseful, and at times tender story revolves around the abduction of an American physicist who is forced to assist the North Koreans with their nuclear ambitions. But the author did so much more that write an exciting story. The depiction of North Korea and its society is, to my understanding, entirely accurate. Without overtly teaching the reader anything, I walked away from this novel with an understanding of North Korean society, the extent and implications of information control, the terror of free thought, and how dangerous that makes this backwards country that we laugh about on the late night comedy shows.
You should read The Silla Project. It’s a really good read. And when you’ve finished, you’ll understand why this tiny, resource-strapped country shot a missile over us just to prove they could. They don’t know they are the laughing stock of the world. There is no way they could.