Pachinko (national Book Award Finalist) by Min Jin LeePachinko (national Book Award Finalist) by Min Jin Lee

Pachinko (national Book Award Finalist)

byMin Jin Lee

Paperback | November 14, 2017

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NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST * A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW TOP TEN OF THE YEAR * NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2017 *A USA TODAY TOP TEN OF 2017 * JULY PICK FOR THE PBS NEWSHOUR-NEW YORK TIMES BOOK CLUB NOW READ THIS * FINALIST FOR THE 2018 DAYTON LITERARY PEACE PRIZE

Roxane Gay's Favorite Book of 2017, Washington Post

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * #1 BOSTON GLOBE BESTSELLER * USA TODAY BESTSELLER * WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER * WASHINGTON POST BESTSELLER

In this gorgeous, page-turning saga, four generations of a poor Korean immigrant family fight to control their destiny in 20th-century Japan, exiled from a home they never knew.

"There could only be a few winners, and a lot of losers. And yet we played on, because we had hope that we might be the lucky ones."

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.

Richly told and profoundly moving, Pachinko is a story of love, sacrifice, ambition, and loyalty. From bustling street markets to the halls of Japan's finest universities to the pachinko parlors of the criminal underworld, Lee's complex and passionate characters--strong, stubborn women, devoted sisters and sons, fathers shaken by moral crisis--survive and thrive against the indifferent arc of history.

*Includes reading group guide*


Min Jin Lee's debut novel, Free Food for Millionaires, was one of the "Top 10 Novels of the Year" for The Times (London), NPR's Fresh Air, and USA Today. Her short fiction has been featured on NPR's Selected Shorts. Her writings have appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, The Times (London), Vogue, Travel+Leisure, Wall Street Journal, New Yo...
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Title:Pachinko (national Book Award Finalist)Format:PaperbackDimensions:512 pages, 8 × 5.38 × 1.5 inPublished:November 14, 2017Publisher:Grand Central PublishingLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1455563927

ISBN - 13:9781455563920

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Utterly Fascinating Done at last! I immensely regret it took me so long to read such an important and fascinating book. A co-worker lent me this, and I'm very glad she did. This was such an incredible historic tale. And very eye-opening. The writing is really such a treat, painting vivid pictures and condensing an entire life into 500 pages with dignity and honesty. There were a number of narratives that drove this story forward seventy plus years. Each was distinct and filled with hardships and heartache. From the titular Sunja to her sons, grandson, her mother, sister in law, husband and the first lover that started this entire adventure. It is told in third person omniscient, which I admit threw me for a loop at first, but was most definitely the best way to tell such an expansive story. The crap this family went through, and how they came out the other side, is truly awe-inspiring. They never once gave up, no matter how hard things became, how strained relationships were, how circumstances were against them for simply being Korean. This is a story that shares lessons of love, grief, home vs nationalism, poverty, hard work, and belonging. My only complaint was that the timeline often jumped around quite a bit, and I really had to pay attention. Sometimes you would have three/five chapters in a row in the same timeframe and going between two or three characters. Then it would jump five years, follow one character, then jump another two. For instance, one character meets the woman who becomes his wife. We get one chapter to really get to know her and fall in love with her, then the next chapter is three years later and she dead. Oh ... cool. Nice to meet you I guess.
Date published: 2018-09-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating read! I am not usually that into historical fiction because some are too wordy, relentlessly descriptive, etc that it becomes less of a story but more of factual statements. However, the narrative the author weaves through the characters throughout the fold of the japan/korea relationship is spectacular. Was thoroughly invested in the book from beginning to end, and look forward to reading more by the author.
Date published: 2018-08-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing historical fiction! I loved the descriptions of characters and historical/political issues. The narratives was good and it follows through generations. It made me cry because it is a story that many people can relate to and because it is well-written. I would recommend it to anyone who likes historical fiction.
Date published: 2018-08-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read for any historical fiction lovers The historical background in the book is well explained, but no too extensive where it becomes a historical analysis. I love how the author described the characters and their lives throughout the plot. However, most of characters end isn't described clear, like we don't know what happened to some characters that was introduced and left the main family afterwards. Of course I'm curious to know what happens to those characters. But I guess that's how you get lost the connections back in the days, when your acquaintances moved to different neighbourhood.
Date published: 2018-07-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Worth a read! Read this book as part of my book club and it was a very fascinating read. The part that I enjoyed the most was how we are able to follow the journey of a family thorough each generation as we gain greater understanding of their struggles and challenges during a very turbulent time in Korean- Japanese history. Loved the ability to truly become invested in the family but there were times where the writer introduces/focuses the story on secondary characters which really felt like page fillers and took away from the main storyline. This was pretty much the only reason this book did not get a 5/5 from me. Overall, amazing and definitely worth a read!
Date published: 2018-07-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Half way through I will preface this by saying that I am only half way through the book. However, it is so good that I simultaneously want to race to finish it and linger with it as long as possible. Its so well written and having spent time in Korea, I find it fascinating to read.
Date published: 2018-06-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book if you like family sagas and Korea) I picked this one up just because I'm interested in Korean culture and had never read anything by a Korean (or Korean American) author before. I loved the book! Couldnt put it down right from the beginning. I especially loved the character development, Hoonie, Sunja, Yangjin, Mozasu felt like a family to me, so real. I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes family sagas and is interested/knows a little about Korean history and culture.
Date published: 2018-05-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible book I usually don't read heavy books, but being Korean-Canadian myself I was intrigued by the subject and themes of the book. It is an epic tale of 4 generations... romantic, sad, truthful... I loved this book to the core. Definitely worth a read if you're interested in the history of the Korean-Japan relationship.
Date published: 2018-05-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from excellent sprawling family drama This is a phenomenal multi-generational story that takes place throughout the 20th century. The time jumps can be a little erratic, and characters weave in and out - but rather than being frustrated by that, it just cements the reality of the story, people come in and out of our own narratives all of the time. Lee wrote this book over the course of 30 years, and the level of research and her connection to the story is evident in each chapter. I bought this book over a year ago and kept putting it off thinking it would be "difficult" or I wouldn't connect to it. I was wrong on both counts. I sat down to read 50 pages last night, and read 250 pages instead and finished it today. There's no overarching mystery, but just wondering how the family members would keep surviving/ turn out/ what would befall them next keep the pages turning quickly. Highly recommend.
Date published: 2018-04-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Almost Great, amazing history It was almost a great story, but I felt a lot of characters were randomly introduced then their life dropped and I wanted to know what happened!. Did Mosazu ever know his friend was gay and had feeling for him? Was Kim dead? How could Nora take his life after his wife family had that happen to them and then no acknowledgement about what happened to his family? Did Estuko marry Mosazu? I found it interesting Hana is implied to have AIDS but its never spoke off what her condition is... I suppose the author wants us to feel these things happened in those families and people were destroyed and never heard from again. Beautiful writing but I wanted to spend more time with some characters and less with others. I also felt the end was very rushed we spent two portions on them as teenagers and children but only portion on the characters as adults.
Date published: 2018-04-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Almost Great, amazing history It was almost a great story, but I felt a lot of characters were randomly introduced then there life dropped and I wanted to know what happened!. Did Mosazu ever know his friend was gay and had feeling for him? Was Kim dead? How could Nora take his life after his wife family had that happen to them and then no acknowledgement about what happened to his family? Did Estuko marry Mosazu? I found it interesting Hana is implied to have AIDS but its never spoke off what her condition is... I suppose the author wants us to feel these things happened in those families and people were destroyed and never heard from again. Beautiful writing but I wanted to spend more time with some characters and less with others. I also felt the end was very rushed we spent two portions on them as teenagers and children but only portion on the characters as adults.
Date published: 2018-04-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from very good read informative on the Korean and Japanese history, plot is heavy but compelling, characters are all very interesting, so different from one another but all of them are relatable.
Date published: 2018-04-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An epic tale I saw this as a Book of the Month Club (US only) selection and picked it up locally. It's an amazing tale of one family that spans multiple generations and is wonderfully told. The way Lee weaves characters in and out of the book was well done, and I learnt so much of Japanese and Korean culture and history that I knew nothing about. I've recommended it to my book club and it's our April read, and highly recommend it to anyone else.
Date published: 2018-04-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Read this book. This book is one of the most memorable and affecting I have read in a long while. Full of characters the narrator treats with such generosity and care; they are complicated, compelling, and absolutely specific. While also being somehow absolutely relatable (how does the author DO that?). I couldn't put Pachinko down. I don't want to forget these characters. I love them, even the ones who I would normally straight up loathe. Oh, and I learned a lot about the history of Japanese colonization of Korea, and the treatment of (ethnic) Koreans in Japan. Please read it.
Date published: 2018-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartbreakingly Beautiful I adored this book, I cried so hard in the first 100 pages and multiple times through the book. I love a big book for the character development! I was addicted-finished in a long weekend. I am now looking to buy the author's other novel. #plumreview
Date published: 2018-01-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Compelling, heartbreaking, inspirational... Beautiful story of a resilient woman and her family who lived during one of the darkest times in modern Asian history. Not a flashy, rags-to-riches kind of novel, but one depicting a family's struggle to remain steadfast in the face of poverty, war, oppression, and inequality.
Date published: 2017-12-10

Editorial Reviews

"A sprawling, beautiful novel."-PBS