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Pachinko (National Book Award Finalist) by…
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Pachinko (National Book Award Finalist) (original 2017; edition 2017)

by Min Jin Lee (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,1261763,011 (4.05)271
"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)
Member:KABarnes
Title:Pachinko (National Book Award Finalist)
Authors:Min Jin Lee (Author)
Info:Grand Central Publishing (2017), Edition: 1, 496 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (2017)

  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 271 mentions

English (172)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (174)
Showing 1-5 of 172 (next | show all)
A tale of Koreans from the time when they were occupied by the Japanese up until the divide after the Korean war. It follows a young girl through her life amidst these incredible upheavals, struggles and hardship. More of a saga than a single novel.

Incredibly well written, engaging, and the foreign-ness of it all is not off-putting nor difficult to follow who is who and how they relate to each other. In any setting this would be a brilliant story.

For me it filled in some of those gaps in 20th century history but not with bland dates and numbers rather a sense of the impact of world events on human beings.

Just brilliant. ( )
  Ken-Me-Old-Mate | Sep 24, 2020 |
The perfect summer holiday author is not Jin Lee but rather P. G. Wodehouse. Yes, I know, the whole "Nazi collaborator" thing put many people off. But, damn it, ignore all that. Focus, instead, on the Empress of Blandings, Lord Emsworth, Psmith, Jeeves, Bertie, the Golf Stories (the Oldest Member!) Summer reading is not meant to challenge you but, rather, to enhance the relaxation and escape of a holiday. Or, instead, just take along Evelyn Waugh's "The Loved One" on your holiday, and consider reading it time well spent. There you go. Not one of them published in the past 40 years (“Pachinko” was published in 2017 and it's’ awful), either, so there's no marketing ulterior motive. Pachinko wasn't great: it's gripping enough in the first half to ignore the numerous glaring factual errors she makes in relation to Japan and the Japanese language, but round about the third generation of characters it all falls apart, with major characters killed off in a single line, new ones sketched in the broadest strokes, and weird jumps in time that mean you couldn't care less what happens. Meanwhile, the errors keep on piling up, alongside an almost racist anti-Japanese prejudice. Really not recommended. ( )
  antao | Sep 18, 2020 |
The writing is clear and sympathetic, and the first third was well done, vividly transporting the reader to the early days of the Japanese occupation. But I thought that the historical scale of the story was too large which forced the author to curtail the lives of the later characters. I wished for more poetry, more self revelation, and less in terms of what happens and to whom. I also wanted to know more about Pachinko, it’s mechanics, allure, and role in society given that it’s the family business and book’s title. ( )
  Misprint | Aug 31, 2020 |
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee is an epic historical novel that follows a Korean family through four generations. Opening in Korea in 1910 the story follows this family as they emigrate to Japan and try to build a successful and satisfying life in a country that is largely hostile toward them.

The one constant character in Pachinko is Sunja, a peasant girl whose teenage pregnancy and decision to reject her powerful lover drives the story and creates a family history and consequence that we follow throughout the book. As well as the immediate, personal story, this book also illustrates the plight of Koreans who immigrated to Japan and were never accepted. They couldn’t return to Korea as this was a time of turmoil for that country as it disintegrated and was reformed into two, North and South Korea.

I found Pachinko to be a vivid, interesting and entertaining novel that depicted many aspects of Korean life. It is full of emotional conflicts and family tensions. The timeline covered included the Second World War and I was fascinated by the unfolding of history from the Japanese side of the conflict. The story takes us through to 1989 and touches on many aspects of Korean life in Japan. Although there were a lot of time jumps, the story unfolds in a straight forward manner that was easy to follow. There was something rather impersonal in it’s telling so I never fully connected to any of the characters, but I did remain fully engrossed in the story. Toward the end of the book, the story felt a little rushed but overall this is an excellent piece of historical fiction. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Aug 17, 2020 |
"Living every day in the presence of those who refuse to acknowledge your humanity takes great courage.”
This book brilliantly addresses the Korean diaspora, which until reading the book, I knew very little about. The novel main characters are ethnic Koreans living in Japan in the 20th century. Some choose to hold on to their culture, even after decades, some try to assimilate (at the expense of denying their ethnic identity), while others adapt to their surroundings.
Throughout the book, loss is a main theme: loss of homeland, loss of loved ones, and loss of humanity. Yet, most of the characters persevere through perseverance..
“What else can we do but persevere, my child?"
In the end, acceptance of their situation and forgiveness of choices made in the past, brings peace to the surviving characters...
"to live without forgiveness was a kind of death with breathing and movement." ( )
  Chrissylou62 | Aug 1, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 172 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lee, Min Jinprimary authorall 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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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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"--

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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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