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Cover image for Pachinko
Format:
Title:
Pachinko
ISBN:
9781455563937

9781455563920

9781478970880

9781786691361
Edition:
First edition.
Publication:
New York : Grand Central Publishing, 2017.
Physical Description:
490 pages ; 24 cm
Summary:
"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"-- Provided by publisher.
Geographic Term:
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Library
Call Number
Status
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FIC LEE 2017
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FICTION - LEE
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FICTION - LEE
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FICTION - LEE
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Lee, M.
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FICTION LEE
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Lee, M.
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Lee, M.
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Lee, M.
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FIC LEE
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LEE Min Jin
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Summary

Summary

A new tour de force from the bestselling author of Free Food for Millionaires , for readers of A Fine Balance and Cutting for Stone .

Profoundly moving and gracefully told, 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. Betrayed by her wealthy lover, Sunja finds unexpected salvation when a young tubercular minister offers to marry her and bring her to Japan to start a new life.

So begins a sweeping saga of exceptional people in exile from a homeland they never knew and caught in the indifferent arc of history. In Japan, Sunja's family members endure harsh discrimination, catastrophes, and poverty, yet they also encounter great joy as they pursue their passions and rise to meet the challenges this new home presents. Through desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs, they are bound together by deep roots as their family faces enduring questions of faith, family, and identity.


Author Notes

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 Nast Traveler, The Times (London), Vogue, Travel+Leisure, Wall Street Journal, New York Times Magazine, and Food & Wine. Her essays and literary criticism have been anthologized widely. She served as a columnist for the Chosun Ilbo, the leading paper of South Korea. She lives in New York with her family.


Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

Lee's (Free Food for Millionaires) latest novel is a sprawling and immersive historical work that tells the tale of one Korean family's search for belonging, exploring questions of history, legacy, and identity across four generations. In the Japanese-occupied Korea of the 1910s, young Sunja accidentally becomes pregnant, and a kind, tubercular pastor offers to marry her and act as the child's father. Together, they move away from Busan and begin a new life in Japan. In Japan, Sunja and her Korean family suffer from seemingly endless discrimination, and yet they are also met with moments of great love and renewal. As Sunja's children come of age, the novel reveals the complexities of family national history. What does it mean to live in someone else's motherland? When is history a burden, and when does history lift a person up? This is a character-driven tale, but Lee also offers detailed histories that ground the story. Though the novel is long, the story itself is spare, at times brutally so. Sunja's isolation and dislocation become palpable in Lee's hands. Reckoning with one determined, wounded family's place in history, Lee's novel is an exquisite meditation on the generational nature of truly forging a home. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Kirkus Review

An absorbing saga of 20th-century Korean experience, seen through the fate of four generations.Lee (Free Food for Millionaires, 2007) built her debut novel around families of Korean-Americans living in New York. In her second novel, she traces the Korean diaspora back to the time of Japans annexation of Korea in 1910. History has failed us, she writes in the opening line of the current epic, but no matter. She begins her tale in a village in Busan with an aging fisherman and his wife whose son is born with a cleft palate and a twisted foot. Nonetheless, he is matched with a fine wife, and the two of them run the boardinghouse he inherits from his parents. After many losses, the couple cherishes their smart, hardworking daughter, Sunja. When Sunja gets pregnant after a dalliance with a persistent, wealthy married man, one of their boardersa sickly but handsome and deeply kind pastoroffers to marry her and take her away with him to Japan. There, she meets his brother and sister-in-law, a woman lovely in face and spirit, full of entrepreneurial ambition that she and Sunja will realize together as they support the family with kimchi and candy operations through war and hard times. Sunjas first son becomes a brilliant scholar; her second ends up making a fortune running parlors for pachinko, a pinball-like game played for money. Meanwhile, her first sons real father, the married rich guy, is never far from the scene, a source of both invaluable help and heartbreaking woe. As the destinies of Sunjas children and grandchildren unfold, love, luck, and talent combine with cruelty and random misfortune in a deeply compelling story, with the troubles of ethnic Koreans living in Japan never far from view. An old-fashioned epic whose simple, captivating storytelling delivers both wisdom and truth. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

*Starred Review* A decade after her international best-selling debut, Free Food for Millionaires (2007), Lee's follow-up is an exquisite, haunting epic that crosses almost a century, four generations, and three countries while depicting an ethnic Korean family that cannot even claim a single shared name because, as the opening line attests: History has failed us. In 1910, Japan annexes Korea, usurping the country and controlling identity. Amid the tragedies that follow, a fisherman and his wife survive through sheer tenacity. Their beloved daughter, married to a gentle minister while pregnant with another man's child, initiates the migration to Japan to join her husband's older brother and wife. Their extended family will always live as second-class immigrants; no level of achievement, integrity, or grit can change their status as reviled foreigners. Two Japanese-born sons choose diverging paths; one grandson hazards a further immigration to the other side of the world. Although the characters are oppressed by the age-old belief sho ga nai (it can't be helped), moments of shimmering beauty and some glory, too, illuminate the narrative. Incisively titled (pachinko resemble slot machines with pinball characteristics), Lee's profound novel of losses and gains explored through the social and cultural implications of pachinko-parlor owners and users is shaped by impeccable research, meticulous plotting, and empathic perception.--Hong, Terry Copyright 2016 Booklist


New York Review of Books Review

The extraordinary friendship of an elderly songwriter and the precocious child of his single-parent neighbor is at the heart of this novel that darts back and forth through the decades, from the 1960s to the era of Brexit. The first in a projected four-volume series, it's a moving exploration of the intricacies of the imagination, a sly teasing-out of a host of big ideas and small revelations, all hovering around a timeless quandary: how to observe, how to be. EXIT WEST By Mohsin Hamid Rlverhead Books. $26. A deceptively simple conceit turns a timely novel about a couple fleeing a civil war into a profound meditation on the psychology of exile. Magic doors separate the known calamities of the old world from the unknown perils of the new, as the migrants learn how to adjust to an improvisatory existence. Hamid has written a novel that fuses the real with the surreal - perhaps the most faithful way to convey the tremulous political fault lines of our interconnected planet. PACHINKO By Min Jin Lee Grand Central Publishing. $27. Lee's stunning novel, her second, chronicles four generations of an ethnic Korean family, first in Japanese-occupied Korea in the early 20 th century, then in Japan itself from the years before World War II to the late 1980s. Exploring central concerns of identity, homeland and belonging, the book announces its ambitions right from the opening sentence: "History has failed us, but no matter." 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. THE POWER By Naomi Alderman Little, Brown & Company. $26. Alderman imagines our present moment - our history, our wars, our politics - complicated by the sudden manifestation of a lethal "electrostatic power" in women that upends gender dynamics across the globe. It's a riveting story, told in fittingly electric language, that explores how power corrupts everyone: those new to it and those resisting its loss. Provocatively, Alderman suggests that history's horrors are inescapable - that there will always be abuses of power, that the arc of the universe doesn't bend toward justice so much as inscribe a circle away from it. "Transfers of power, of course, are rarely smooth," one character observes. SING, UNBURIED, SING By Jesmyn Ward Scribner. $26. In her follow-up to "Salvage the Bones," Ward returns to the fictional town of Bois Sauvage, Miss., and the stories of ordinary people who would be easy to classify dismissively into categories like "rural poor," "drug-dependent," "products of the criminal justice system." Instead Ward gives us Jojo, a 13-year-old, and a road trip that he and his little sister take with his drug-addicted black mother to pick up their white father from prison. And there is nothing small about their existences. Their story feels mythic, both encompassing the ghosts of the past and touching on all the racial and social dynamics of the South as they course through this one fractured family. Ward's greatest feat here is achieving a level of empathy that is all too often impossible to muster in real life, but that is genuine and inevitable in the hands of a writer of such lyric imagination. NONFICTION THE EVOLUTION OF BEAUTY How Darwin's Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World - and Us By Richard 0. Prum Doubleday. $30. If a science book can be subversive and feminist and change the way we look at our own bodies - but also be mostly about birds - this is it. Prum, an ornithologist, mounts a defense of Darwin's second, largely overlooked theory of sexual selection. Darwin believed that, in addition to evolving to adapt to the environment, some other force must be at work shaping the species: the aesthetic mating choices made largely by the females. Prum wants subjectivity and the desire for beauty to be part of our understanding of how evolution works. It's a passionate plea that begins with birds and ends with humans and will help you finally understand, among other things, how in the world we have an animal like the peacock. GRANT By Ron Chernow Penguin Press. $40. Even those who think they are familiar with Ulysses S. Grant's career will learn something from Chernow's fascinating and comprehensive biography, especially about Grant's often overlooked achievements as president. What is more, at a time of economic inequality reflecting the 19 th century's Gilded Age and a renewed threat from white-supremacy groups, Chernow reminds us that Grant's courageous example is more valuable than ever, and in this sense, "Grant" is as much a mirror on our own time as a history lesson. LOCKING UP OUR OWN Crime and Punishment in Black America By James Forman Jr. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $27. A former public defender in Washington, Forman has written a masterly account of how a generation of black officials, beginning in the 1970s, wrestled with recurring crises of violence and drug use in the nation's capital. What started out as an effort to assert the value of black lives turned into an embrace of tough-oncrime policies - with devastating consequences for the very communities those officials had promised to represent. Forman argues that dismantling the American system of mass incarceration will require a new understanding of justice, one that emphasizes accountability instead of vengeance. PRAIRIE FIRES The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder By Caroline Fraser Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt & Company. $35. Fraser's biography of the author of "Little House on the Prairie" and other beloved books about her childhood during the era of westward migration captures the details of a life - and an improbable, iconic literary career - that has been expertly veiled by fiction. Exhaustively researched and passionately written, this book refreshes and revitalizes our understanding of Western American history, giving space to the stories of Native Americans displaced from the tribal lands by white settlers like the Ingalls family as well as to the travails of homesteaders, farmers and everyone else who rushed to the West to extract its often elusive riches. Ending with a savvy analysis of the 20th-century turn toward right-wing politics taken by Wilder and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, Fraser offers a remarkably wide-angle view of how national myths are shaped. PRIESTDADDY By Patricia Lockwood Rlverhead Books. $27. In this affectionate and very funny memoir, Lockwood weaves the story of her family - including her Roman Catholic priest father, who received a special dispensation from the Vatican - with her own coming-of-age, and the crisis that later led her and her husband to live temporarily under her parents' rectory roof. She also brings to bear her gifts as a poet, mixing the sacred and profane in a voice that's wonderfully grounded and authentic. This book proves Lockwood to be a formidably gifted writer who can do pretty much anything she pleases.


Library Journal Review

In early 1900s Korea, Sunja is the only surviving child of humble fisherman Hoonie and wife Yangjin. After her father's death, 13-year-old Sunja works at a boardinghouse with her mother, only to surprise the family with a pregnancy by an older married man. When another guest, a Christian minister, offers to marry her and take her to Japan, Sunja starts a new life. What follows is a gripping multigenerational story with plenty of surprising turns that culminate in 1989. VERDICT Lee's skillful development of her characters and story lines will draw readers into a delicate and accurate portrait of Korean life in Japan in the mid-to-late 20th century. (LJ 10/15/16) © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.