Half way into The Orphan Master's Son it is difficult to know what exactly is going on or what the outcome will be. The writing is good. The story has potential. But it's a little bit of a chore to get that far. It's the sort of novel that may be a little too easy to put aside with hopes of returning to another day. And it's the sort of novel that if you did set it aside would possibly be easy to forget about. This would be a mistake.
In its entirety, The Orphan Master's Son is quite a feat of storytelling. The unraveling! The nuances! Johnson has pieced together details so relevant, so numerous, I imagine I missed so much brilliance. It all fits together so perfectly.
If you haven't heard of this one yet, you probably will soon. It seems likely it will show up on some lists, maybe win an award or two; it'll likely be a favorite among book clubs. Fans of Life of Pi and Middlesex will eat this book up.