The Boy Who Escaped Paradise

J. M. Lee (Author) Chi-Young Kim (Translator)
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An unidentified body is discovered in New York City, with numbers and symbols are written in blood near the corpse. Gil-mo, a North Korean national who interprets the world through numbers, formulas, and mathematical theories, is arrested on the spot. Angela, a CIA operative, is assigned to gain his trust and access his unique persona.

In The Boy Who Escaped Paradise, celebrated author J. M. Lee delves into a hidden world filled with vivid characters trapped by ideology, greed, and despair. Gil-mo's saga forces the reader to question the line between good and evil, truth and falsehood, and captivity and freedom.

Product Details

Pegasus Books
Publish Date
August 26, 2019
5.6 X 0.7 X 8.7 inches | 0.6 pounds
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About the Author

J.M. (Joe) Lee is a Minneapolis author, illustrator and writing mentor with a background in linguistics and film. He was the winner of the prestigious Jim Henson's the Dark Crystal Author Quest and author of Shadows of the Dark Crystal, the official prequel fantasy novel to the 1982 classic fantasy film. http: //
Chi-Young Kim is the celebrated translator of the Man Asian Literary Prize-winning international bestseller Please Look After Mom.


"A haunting journey through the eyes of a young man with Asperger syndrome. Lee's novel touches on the literary need for character-driven stories that move beyond the strangeness and horror of life under the North Korean state." --Paste

"A reminder of the power of numbers, but one doesn't need to be a math fan to appreciate the brilliance of this work. The language is mesmerizing. An exciting adventure added to rich characters, all multiplied by stunning language, equals an unforgettable novel." --Shelf Awareness

"Lee creates a dignified and moving portrait of North Koreans' struggle for freedom at home and abroad, and intertwines it with a rogue genius adventure--all without sacrificing the appeal of either plot line. Another outstanding thriller from Lee, whose novels have garnered massive acclaim in Korea." --Booklist

"A smart, riveting read." --Publishers Weekly

"Channeling timeless quests from The Odyssey on, while highly reminiscent of the contemporary cult classic Vikas Swarup's Q&A (the literary inspiration for celluloid sensation "Slumdog Millionaire"), Lee's latest should guarantee exponential growth among savvy Western audiences searching for a universal story with global connections. In a phrase, read this." --Library Journal (starred)