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Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Pachinko (2017)

by Min Jin Lee

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,9261613,217 (4.05)255
"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)
  1. 10
    The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (doryfish)
    doryfish: A man marries a woman already pregnant with another's child and they immigrate together.

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» See also 255 mentions

English (160)  Spanish (1)  All languages (161)
Showing 1-5 of 160 (next | show all)
I enjoyed the writing in this one, but it fell victim to the belief that good writing = bad things happening to the characters. My biggest issue with this, and several other highly honored novels I've read over the past few years, is the plot is driven by multiple terrible things happening to the characters one after the other after the other. I'm not saying a book is only allowed to have happy endings with sunshine and roses, but I object to the idea that a book isn't complete without multiple suicides, car accidents, cancers, and other untimely deaths and intimate betrayals. I would much prefer a shorter book that explores one or two big dramatic terrible events with time for the day to day in between. Unfortunately, Pachinko, for me seemed much more interesting in skipping from awful moment to worse moment without time for the love in between. ( )
  Jthierer | May 28, 2020 |
about Koreans;
we stay who we are & others see us as who they 'think we are" no matter how we change. Speaks of bigotry. first 1/2 ok, 2nd half bad & cruel

like a pachinko machine--no matter how much we try (in Korea) we come back to the same place. each person has many facets ( )
  evatkaplan | Apr 30, 2020 |
Can't say enough how much I enjoyed this novel. I'm a 4th generation immigrant, and saw myself by the end. I knew a little about the Korean experience in Japan and this story enthralled me for a week, I made time for it, and I'm sad it's over. ( )
  ThomasPluck | Apr 27, 2020 |
Read for book club.

I don't know that I enjoyed this novel exactly, but it was compelling. It describes a Korean family who settle in Japan and survive WWII there, before going on to become financially successful pachinko parlour owners. (I had to look up pachinko, as I had never heard of it - the equivalent of slot machines apparently).

This was a novel of frustrations - the limited expectations of the women in the story and their acceptance of what their men decreed for them, as well as the limitations experienced by Koreans living in Japan. I have to say that Japan does not come out of this novel well.

I will remember this story for a long time, but will never want to re-read it. ( )
  pgchuis | Apr 20, 2020 |
II'm not a fan of multi-generational fiction. So Pachinko, a historical saga of a Korean family from the 1880s to 1989, was not high on my list. But Min Jin Lee's beautiful prose and fully realized characters gave this book a feel unlike any book I've read before. Following characters you've met from birth until their old age is an emotional experience, and historic events are interwoven throughout the story flawlessly. Reading this book felt like a journey across an entire family tree.
Zachary L. 4/16/20 ( )
  RoeschLeisure | Apr 16, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 160 (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.
-Charles Dickens
For Christopher and Sam
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History has failed us, but no matter.
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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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