Cover of Pachinko (National Book Award Finalist)
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Pachinko (National Book Award Finalist)

By: Min Jin Lee

Publisher: Hachette Trade

Imprint: Grand Central

Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9781455563920

Other Formats:

Electronic | Hardcover | Audio

On Sale: | Pages: 512

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  • Reviews
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.
“Pachinko” is uninterested in the mores of the rich, looking instead at the survival of the lower class. It is an extraordinary epic, both sturdily constructed and beautiful. Lee's characters are tough, materialistic and determined not just to follow their ambitions despite challenging historical circumstances, but also to make a true home.... Min Jin Lee captures something universal here with notable grace and exquisite craft. There's a flintiness to the narration, but readers who appreciate British and Russian masters of times past will love this approach. As we struggle now against the indifferent vicissitudes of history, this novel is a timely reminder that many before us have managed to survive, if imperfectly, in a world hostile to them.
—San Francisco Chronicle
The novel is frequently heartbreaking — its scope doesn't deter attachment to individual characters, and when bad things happen, the swift pacing and wide-angle view make them seem even more brutal, if at times too sudden. This is the rare 500-page novel that would benefit from some extra flesh, particularly in the last third.
—USA Today
There are some books you walk away from feeling like a fuller version of yourself. There are certain rare reads that don't feel finished after the final page, that you can quietly recognize will resonate within you always. Min Jin Lee's PACHINKO is, undoubtedly and triumphantly, one of these books.... Lee delivers an authentic evocation of Korean culture through the bloodline of one family, from the traditions that helped shape modern Korean identity to the mixed marriages of the modern day. Whether you are familiar with Korean sociocultural mores or you've never so much as had kimchee, PACHINKO is an absolute must-read for any lover of astonishingly beautiful, necessary literature.
In this sprawling book, history itself is a character. “Pachinko” is about outsiders, minorities and the politically disenfranchised. But it is so much more besides. Each time the novel seems to find its locus — Japan's colonization of Korea, World War II as experienced in East Asia, Christianity, family, love, the changing role of women — it becomes something else. It becomes even more than it was. Despite the compelling sweep of time and history, it is the characters and their tumultuous lives that propel the narrative.... In this haunting epic tale, no one story seems too minor to be briefly illuminated. Lee suggests that behind the facades of wildly different people lie countless private desires, hopes and miseries, if we have the patience and compassion to look and listen.
—New York Times
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