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Half World Hardcover – 1 Mar 2014

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing (1 Mar. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476716595
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476716596
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,256,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


"One of those books you can hardly stand to stuff the bookmark in at the end of the night. Terrific."--Scott Phillips "bestselling author of The Adjustment and The Ice Harvest " --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Scott O Connor was born in Syracuse, New York, the son of an air-traffic controller and a preschool teacher. He is a co-founder of GO Studios, a post-production and motion graphics design firm. His books include the novella Among Wolves and Untouchable, his first novel, which won the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award. He lives with his family in Los Angeles. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 12 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Phenomenal read 24 Feb. 2014
By Daniel D - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Half World is largely the story of Henry March, a CIA agent carrying out a series of drug and mind control related experiments in a hidden apartment in San Francisco, and the effect his work has on his family. It is a fascinating book on a number of levels.

On the most basic level it's an incredibly interesting look in to actual CIA experimentation on project MK Ultra. While the specific events in the book are fictionalized they reflect things that were actually happening, which is just a fascinating look in to government overreach and paranoia - frighteningly relevant 60 years later.

On a second level the book is beautifully written. O'Connor (as he demonstrated with Untouchable) has a style all his own and a phenomenal way with words (more so than me, obviously). Reading him is a joy, even when his subjects are dark or depressing.

Three levels in now, we get to the fully formed and believable characters. You want to love them. You want to hate them. You pull for them, or scream at them to stop. It's a remarkable accomplishment in this kind of book that all of the characters aren't neatly good or bad, but simply HUMAN.

Four levels deep (deeper and deeper way down), and we start to talk about emotion. Obviously this builds on the strength of the prose and the characters, but it seems worthy of it's own level of appreciation the way that O'Connor makes you FEEL (all caps for emphasis). It is totally possible in a book of this type to lose the emotional element, to get too focused on the horrors of the experimentation or on the more thriller-esque aspects of what is in many ways a spy novel, but the book never loses sight of what matters - its characters. This is as much a book about a family torn apart as it is about spies, and that makes it resonate in a really meaningful way.

Half World presents a fascinating piece of history, beautifully written, with well drawn characters and a super strong emotional core - what more could you ask for?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
interesting and disturbing at the same time 10 April 2014
By Katie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I do not believe I am naive but it is difficult to believe our government was so ruthless. It is disturbing that our government would allow such experiments. That being said I have no reason to believe it didn't occur and what is happening as I write this. This was eye opening to me. Thank you.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Not for everyone, but if it's for you, you will love it 22 July 2014
By Dorothy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read Scott O'Connor's book "Untouchable" and looked forward to his next publication. His writing makes you uncomfortable. You find yourself reminded of his writing long after you finish the book. That's how I felt about Untouchable. The book improved over time. Even now, I think back to how good it was, and I know at the time I finished it, I was unsure.

Half World is like that. The difference for me is that I read Half World over the span of 5 days instead of voraciously finishing it like Untouchable. As such, my mind has been able to mull over the characters, plot, and full story. It is a very good book. The ending (as other reviewers have mentioned) may leave some readers unsatisfied. When you read the "interview with the author," it makes it a bit easier to stomach.

But should a book that was inspired by MKULTRA be easy to stomach? NO. You should hate a lot of these characters. You should shake your fist at them and wonder what in the world are they doing?!?! And when you do, that's when Scott O'Connor has you. You believe his characters. And then, you start to think about the actions. Why do they do these things? And you think more about the why. O'Connor doesn't tell you why. He gives you their thoughts/actions through multi-character POV narration. At the end of the story, you will still be asking "why?" for many of the details. However, the ending matches. I agree with it.

I delayed reading this book. I follow the author on FB, and I knew it came out nearly six months ago. Usually, I would run out and buy it and start reading before the end of the release day. I hesitated because of the plot. I wasn't sure I would want to read something like this. O'Connor has shown he isn't a formulaic writer, so I was very hesitant.

I regret the delay. I won't make this mistake again for his next book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
My Review 13 April 2014
By Ken C. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Before I read the other reviews, I wanted to say my piece, unbiased by what others think. Half World is a cleverly created picture of the life people might have lived had they been touched in any way by the government's experiments with mind altering drugs. The central characters are all credible. Henry and his family seem the most human, yet Henry himself is seriously responsible for much of what the government has done. The tale of his son Thomas is touching. By dividing the work into so many parts, the author risked losing readers. Part two started off with no recognition of part one. This was disconcerting for a while, but any discomfort left as the novel progressed. Readers may find the ending incomplete. I know I did. But the author has given us a very good piece of work, well-crafted and likable. He takes us into worlds we would likely never enter, and makes us believe in the validity of the worlds he has created. That is no small feat. He gets five stars from me.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Giving a nod to Thomas Pynchon 20 Mar. 2014
By Virginia Hill - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Half World gives off the same madcap California environments as Pynchon captures in the couple decades after WWII. The government is the villain, lurking everywhere.
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