* The million-copy bestseller*
* National Book Award finalist *
* One of the New York Times's 10 Best Books of 2017 *
* Selected for Emma Watson's Our Shared Shelf book club *
'This is a captivating book... Min Jin Lee's novel takes us through four generations and each…
Why read it?
9 authors picked Pachinko as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?
This novel illustrates a part of history I had no knowledge of: the story of Korean immigrants to Japan and their families, who are never accepted as Japanese, even after two and three generations.
In some ways, it’s a typical immigration-based epic, but written elegantly and with characters that you truly care about and who you truly want to succeed. I couldn’t put it down until the end.
Wow! I felt intimately connected to the family depicted in this turbulent but big-hearted saga. I rooted for them at every turn, from their humble beginnings in Korea through their struggles as immigrants in Japan. The world changes dramatically from 1910 to 1989, but despite tragedy, they hold tight to their values of loyalty, hard work, independence, and honesty. Inspiring.
I love historical fiction; if you read my book, you will see I use history to convey a message. I believe in leaving the past behind, but it is ok to look back and see where we are now. It helps focus. And Pachinko does that. It shows three generations of Korean families and all that they have gone through. She uses historical fiction to teach about the past and to see how far we have moved from there while at the same time touching the hearts of readers. Same stories of today, same feelings, same family situation but in…
The unplanned pregnancy at the beginning of Pachinko starts a generations-long saga. In the early 1900s, Sunja is a young, innocent Korean woman who is seduced by an older man, a gangster who already has a wife. Sunja is rescued from the shame of an out-of-wedlock birth by a pastor who marries her and brings her to Japan, where they have a second child. The novel brings to life the conflict between the Korean and Japanese people, through the lives of Sunja’s offspring, taking us through WWII all the way to the 1980s. Every sentence Lee writes is gorgeous, and…
The research and imagination that went into the world-building of this book are breathtaking, from the events that shape the lives of three generations of a Korean family living in Japan, to what they wore, ate, saw around them, and how they responded to immense hardship with skill, creativity, and determination. Pachinko illuminates for the reader a rich and specific pocket of history, that also speaks to the universal struggle of marginalized people everywhere.
Back to Japan. Pachinko tells the story of a Korean woman living in Japan who eschews what is expected of her and instead takes the rockier path. It reminded me of how often women have to push against the tide of tradition to forge a story not yet written for them by their fathers. Beautifully written, this book transported me to another world and had me living the inner workings of a life very different from my own.
Women are the heart of Pachinko, which makes the opening line all the more compelling: “History has failed us, but no matter.” Min Jin Lee creates a memorable account across several generations of ethnic Koreans making their lives in Japan – against a tide of overwhelming Japanese anti-Korean discrimination. Pachinko makes manifest patterns and practices of racism as well as sexism and misogyny. As Lee told interviewer Lindsay Wang recently: “The people who are enforcing systems of power against other groups that have less power are often people who aren’t that powerful…That’s what’s interesting — it’s not like you…
The accolades for this epic novel are deserved. In her second novel, author Min Jin Lee follows members of a family (and many equally fascinating ancillary characters) from the Japanese Occupation era in Korea, to the Korean diaspora in Japan up to 1989. She manages this expansive timespan through third-person omniscient voice, allowing a kind of economy in the storytelling that would otherwise be limited to structural concerns. It’s both a feat of intricate character development and a rapid-moving plot that makes one love the people, even the antagonist, and live through a hundred fast-moving stories that kept pulling at…
Until I started researching my own book about East Asia, I was quite ignorant about the experience of the Koreans in Japan, the ‘Zainichi’. This heart-rending family saga spanning most of the 20th century gave me greater insight than any history book.
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