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Pachinko Book Cover Pachinko
Min Jin Lee
Grand Central Publishing
February 7, 2017
Advanced Reader Copy
Publisher via BEA

A new tour de force from the bestselling author of Free Food for Millionaires, for readers of The Kite Runner and Cutting for Stone. PACHINKO follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all. Deserted by her lover, Sunja is saved when a young tubercular minister offers to marry and bring her to Japan. So begins a sweeping saga of an exceptional family in exile from its homeland and caught in the indifferent arc of history. Through desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs, its members are bound together by deep roots as they face enduring questions of faith, family, and identity.

My review:

A wonderful family saga that is well written and opened my eyes to some of the prejudices against the Korean people living in Japan. This is a sweeping tale involving several generations of Koreans from 1910 to 1989. Lots of history that I was not familiar with including the Japanese invasion of Korea, the division of Korea, and the Koreans fleeing to Japan for the possibility of a better life. I thought the characters were well developed, and the story moved along nicely, although if I had any complaints to make it would be that this is a chunkster of a novel. It was probably due to my personal circumstances of moving houses while reading it, but I did feel, even though I was engaged with the story, that I was likely never going to finish it. I really felt for these characters, particularly the fact that many of them were never able to get out of the poverty and oppression holding them back. While it certainly is not an uplifting novel, it is important to understand prejudices on a world scale, sometimes we tend to look much closer to home.

I really enjoyed this novel, and feel it is worthwhile to delve into, but would suggest going into it knowing that it's a hefty read.

4 thoughts on “Pachinko

  1. Kathy @ Kathy Reads Fiction

    I wondered if this novel would meet its hype, and it looks like it does. The setting is what put me off from choosing this one as Book of the Month pick, even though the synopsis appealed to me. I didn't realize it was so big until you mentioned it was a chunkster. I had that same feeling with A Little Life, another chunkster, and it took me 10 days to finish without being in the middle of a move. I may rethink this one based on your review.

  2. Kathryn Trask

    It sounds worth reading, although as you say quite a few pages, however it does open us to places we don't always read about and helps us to understand other countries and cultures. I'd be tempted to it.


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