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Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Pachinko (2017)

by Min Jin Lee

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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» See also 145 mentions

English (111)  Spanish (1)  All languages (112)
Showing 1-5 of 111 (next | show all)
Emotionally draining historical drama, spanning multiple generations, focused on Japanese mistreatment of ethnic Koreans. I can't help but compare this to Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance, which deals with similar issues in India. The deprivations forced on Koreans in Pachinko, however, often have consequences more psychological in nature. Characters appear fleetingly to demonstrate yet another way in which Koreans are mistreated. It gets a bit repetitive. The writing is simplistic and story one-dimensional, yet I'd recommend this to anyone who can stomach a tale packed with discrimination and misadventure. For one, it demonstrates to me how universal such problems are across countries and cultures. ( )
  jigarpatel | Apr 12, 2019 |
The historical and social background of Japanese-Korean relations was very interesting to me. I didn't know much about the Japanese occupation of Korea nor about how badly Koreans have been treated in Japan even to this day. This story and the characters it follows over generations really illustrates that context in a way that makes it more real (and entertaining) than it would be if I just read a history of the period. That's why I love novels like this.

When I visited Tokyo about 20 years ago, I saw Pachinko parlors all over the city. They were always crowded with men (only men, of course) playing the rows and rows of brightly-colored machines. I didn't get close enough to figure out how to play because I felt very out of place as a woman with a teenage son in tow. I had the sense that these places were somewhat disreputable, but I didn't know at the time about the history of the industry being run largely by Koreans. ( )
  NMBookClub | Apr 12, 2019 |
“Man, life’s going to keep pushing you around, but you have to keep playing.”

I found Pachinko to be a really interesting read. Because it detailed day-to-day life, it got to be a little long at times. But mostly, it was impossible to put down. Sunja’s story was so easy to get wrapped up in.

I have been trying to learn Korean for a while, and I got a better sense of Korean culture throughout the book. I also learned a lot about Japanese culture and learned some Japanese words and phrases. I even found some foods mentioned that I wanted to try. I love reading books that teach me new things, and I learned something new throughout the 500 pages of Pachinko.

It was also refreshing to get a different perspective on WWII in a historical fiction novel. Most books I have read have been based in Germany or America, but never Japan. It was fascinating to see a Korean perspective on the war. It really opened my eyes to how poorly Japan treated Koreans during that time.

It was not a light read, by any means, so I’m glad I had time on my hands to devote to the novel.

All of the characters in the book were give good amounts of backstory, and were realistic. None of them were glorified as a “better person” type of character. They werr all just alive and believable. Koh Hansu was written very well. He was not a like-able character, but in the best way possible. ( )
  RavenNight | Apr 10, 2019 |
Audible audio performed by Allison Hiroto

This is an epic work of historical fiction that follows four generations of one Korean family living in Japan, beginning in 1910 and ending in 1989.

I was quickly drawn into the story and eagerly followed Sunja as she allied herself with Isak, the kind, tubercular minister who takes her from her homeland to Japan and raises her son as his own. I loved how the women created a business selling sweets to supplement the family’s earnings, and how they made practical decisions, that ensured their survival.

The men, however, were frequently frustratingly entrenched in their historic cultural roles of protector and/or head-of-household. I got the distinct feeling that Hansu went along with the secret not out of altruistic motives, but to save his own skin. He wanted to have his cake and eat it, too. Of course, secrets can’t remain secret forever and when they come out one can expect traumatic and dramatic results.

I did get a bit bored with the repetition, especially the co-dependent relationship between Solomon and Hana. I wanted to slap them both silly. It’s a very long book, and perhaps Lee was too ambitious in following the generations so far. Still, I was engaged and invested in these characters’ stories, and the setting and timeframe gave me some insight into a culture about which I know little.

Allison Hiroto goes a very good job narrating the audiobook. She has a lot of characters to deal with but was able to give them sufficiently unique voices so as I was not confused. I do with the text version had a family tree, however. ( )
  BookConcierge | Apr 8, 2019 |
To read Pachinko is to learn how Koreans view their role in our world.

Slow start, long middle, and a good ending. 3 1/2 stars. ( )
  terrybanker | Mar 31, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 111 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lee, Min Jinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Leger, PatrickCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pearson, BrigidCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit answered to, in strongest conjuration.
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For Christopher and Sam
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Book description
In the early 1900s, teenaged Sunja, the adored daughter of a crippled fisherman, falls for a wealthy stranger at the seashore near her home in Korea. He promises her the world, but when she discovers she is pregnant-and that her lover is married-she refuses to be bought. Instead, she accepts an offer of marriage from a gentle, sickly minister passing through on his way to Japan. But her decision to abandon her home, and to reject her son's powerful father, sets off a dramatic saga that will echo down through the generations.
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"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"--… (more)

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