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Pachinko (2017)

by Min Jin Lee

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,3022771,512 (4.1)360
Following 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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» See also 360 mentions

English (272)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (276)
Showing 1-5 of 272 (next | show all)
This book is a saga of a family torn from its homeland, enduring tragedies and triumphs. Pachinko is both a means of living and a metaphor for the game of chance this family's life was. ( )
  bschweiger | Feb 4, 2024 |
As I put down this book our national athletes prepare to leave for the delayed Summer Olympics in Japan. The Japanese Government is trying to put a brave face on it but the Japanese people are furious with admitting thousands of foreigners at a time when few Japanese have been vaccinated against the COVID virus. Billions have been spent on these Olympic Games, billions that could have been spent on vaccines and weren’t.

This story is about Japan’s sometimes on sometimes off again relationships with its neighbours. And like blacks in America, Koreans are treated with suspicion and often contempt. ( )
  MylesKesten | Jan 23, 2024 |
I liked the story and if nothing else, it was enlightening to read about the relationship between Korea and Japan. I thought about rating it 4 stars, but for me, the story lagged a little toward the end mostly because of the introduction of too many new characters that seemed to suddenly appear. ( )
  ellink | Jan 22, 2024 |
Story: 5.0 / 10
Characters: 7.5
Setting: 8
Prose: 7 ( )
  MXMLLN | Jan 12, 2024 |
My dental hygienist and I trade book recommendations when I get my teeth cleaned every six months and this is one she suggested. I decided to listen to it, but the audiobook narrator wasn't my favorite. She gave the impression that she was narrating a children's book even though this is a very grown-up story. The way she narrated the sex scenes was disconcerting.

Anyway, I love a sprawling family epic with lots of drama and that's what this is. There was one twist that completely caught me off guard and I'm still not sure I understand it or like it. Noah's suicide. WTF. I was expecting that he would reconnect with Sunja and be the one to move to the US.


I'm going to watch the show on Apple TV and see what they change. ( )
  LibrarianDest | Jan 3, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 272 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lee, Min Jinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Blum, GabrieleNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hiroto, AllisonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kim, IntaeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lecq, Paul van derTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leger, PatrickCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lenting, InekeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pearson, BrigidCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit answered to, in strongest conjuration.
-Charles Dickens
Dedication
For Christopher and Sam
First words
History has failed us, but no matter.
Quotations
A snake that sheds its skin is still a snake.
The penalties incurred for the mistakes you made had to be paid out in full to the members of your family. But she didn't believe that she could ever discharge these sums.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Following 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.

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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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