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Pachinko (2017)

de Min Jin Lee

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MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
4,1012112,259 (4.07)298
"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"--… (més)
Afegit fa poc peralissee, dgerring, kevn57, KylieDuncan, biblioteca privada, okiedokiee, HH_Library, Bridget737, squeagel
  1. 10
    The Lowland de Jhumpa Lahiri (doryfish)
    doryfish: A man marries a woman already pregnant with another's child and they immigrate together.
  2. 00
    Beasts of a Little Land de Juhea Kim (catrn)
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For more reviews and bookish posts visit https://www.ManOfLaBook.com

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee is a generational epic taking place in Korea and Japan. Ms. Lee is a Yale graduate, an educator and, of course, a best-selling author.

The book is divided into three sections in Korea, and Japan.

Part 1, 1910 – 1933 starts with Hoonie, Sunja’s father, and ends with the birth of Noa.

Part 2, 1939 – 1962, follows Noa and Mozasu being raised by Sunja. Once Japan enters World War II they struggle to make money, but manage. As it turns out, Hansu, Sunja’s husband who abandoned her has been supporting the family for years. The family moves to Osaka.

Part 3, 1962 – 1989, tells of Noa’s new beginning in Nagano and becomes a bookkeeper. Additionally, Moszasu becomes a rich man, owning pachinko parlors.

The book centers around the Korean diaspora in Japan. They are considered second class citizens, but do not see themselves as victims. As other multi-generational novels, it’s a big story with many characters. Certainly, the characters are fascinating, suffering through humiliation, discrimination, and poverty.

I enjoyed reading about different cultures and times. I did not think that Pachinko by Min Jin Lee tried to embellish the culture to make it more palatable for the reader. The story is told in an honest manner, with an observant eye which I certainly enjoyed a lot more.

I had no idea what Pachinko actually means. Turns out it’s a gambling slot machine which is Japan’s national obsession. I actually had to look it up (here’s the video I found), but that’s the beauty of the Internet. The game is a metaphor for the way fate plays around with all of us, and yes, it certainly took me way to long to figure it out. Unlike the game, however, life has real consequences not just monetary.

Like the game, the characters in the book get bounced around. Mixing lifelong tragedy with moments of happiness makes this sprawling book seem intimate. These moments, however, eclipse the tragedy when it’s all said and done.

Another interesting aspect of the book is the clash of cultures between imperialist Japan and Korean immigrants. The people of Osaka and Korea who suffered throughout the war, as well as afterwards, are symbols of survival, as important as any others.

The author does a great job describing complex behaviors in an undeniably readable language. Without reservation, she looks square into the eyes of tragedy, and the moments of happiness sprinkled in life. ( )
  ZoharLaor | Nov 19, 2021 |
The multi-generational immigrant experience narrative is very well done. Not the typical old world to new world story, just trading one old world tradition (Korea) for another (Japan). It does drag at parts and some scenes which could have been more exciting (e.g., the scenes of gambling) just weren't very compelling. ( )
  albertgoldfain | Oct 10, 2021 |
I've read so many books about the American immigrant experience, that this was a refreshing change as it focused on the immigrant experience of a Korean family in Japan. You will like this book if you like big sprawling generational stories. The author, Min Jin Lee, has been compared to Dickens and it is fitting. I found this quote from Lee in the back of the book in the reading group guide, "...I wasn't interested in only one or two main characters. This bias may arise from my personality. I am normally interested in minor characters as well as the major ones. In realistic fiction and especially in a book-length work, characters cannot exist alone, and certainly, they are never in a vacuum... If history so often fails to represent all of us, it is not because historians are not interested, but because historians often lack the primary documents of so-called minor characters in history..." ( )
  auldhouse | Sep 30, 2021 |
This book may seem like a beast at almost 500 pages and might seem like it will be difficult before you start, being about Koreans emigrating to Japan and spanning the 20th century, but it's almost too readable and very accessible. There are hardly enough Korean books out there, especially not many featuring emigration to a place that isn't English centered. So I liked this unique sort of story. It's like Charles Dickens (which would be appropriate - Dickens is mentioned in the book) showing the struggles of a family (four generations!) and a select number of people around them influencing their lives. Later generations born in Japan, but not allowed to be a Japanese citizen even though also never visiting Korea. The theme of cultural belonging reminded me of a favorite: 'Someone Knows My Name' by Lawrence Hill. ( )
  booklove2 | Sep 20, 2021 |
Pachinko is a work of historical fiction which follows the lives of Sanja, her children and grandchild. We first meet Sanja as a young girl living in Korea during its occupation by Japan in WW II. Sanja meets and falls in love with an older man. When she becomes pregnant she learns he cannot offer marriage because he has a wife in Japan. He does offer to take care of Sanja and her child. Sanja rejects this offer and is lucky to meet Isak at her mothers boarding house. He is a sickly man who she and her mother nurse back to health. Isak, a minister is a good man who marries Sanja and takes her to Japan to live with his brother and sister-in-law. He raises her child as his own.

Pachinko is very well written. The characters are well drawn and react to situations in plausible ways. The world this novel takes place in was harsh and dangerous and the author conveys this well. throughout the story themes of racism, sexism and poverty are explored. The plot unfolds at a moderate even pace. Though not an action packed page turner the novel never gets bogged down. It held my interest throughout. ( )
  catrn | Aug 28, 2021 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Lee, Min Jinautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Blum, GabrieleNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Hiroto, AllisonNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Kim, IntaeNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Lecq, Paul van derTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Leger, PatrickAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Lenting, InekeTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Pearson, BrigidDissenyador de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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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
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For Christopher and Sam
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History has failed us, but no matter.
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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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