“Luminous…a powerful meditation on what immigrants sacrifice to achieve a home in the world. This story confirms Lee’s place among our finest novelists.”
–Junot Díaz, Pulitzer Prize-Winning author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and This is How You Lose Her
Praise for Pachinko
Pachinko is elegant and soulful, both intimate and sweeping. This story of several generations of one Korean family in Japan is the story of every family whose parents sacrificed for their children, every family whose children were unable to recognize the cost, but it’s also the story of a specific cultural struggle in a riveting time and place. Min Jin Lee has written a big, beautiful book filled with characters I rooted for and cared about and remembered after I’d read the final page.
A deep, broad, addictive history of a Korean family in Japan enduring and prospering through the 20th century.
Astounding. The sweep of Dickens and Tolstoy applied to a 20th century Korean family in Japan. Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko tackles all the stuff most good novels do—family, love, cabbage—but it also asks questions that have never been more timely. What does it mean to be part of a nation? And what can one do to escape its tight, painful, familiar bonds?
If proof were needed that one family’s story can be the story of the whole world, then Pachinko offers that proof. Min Jin Lee’s novel is gripping from start to finish, crossing cultures and generations with breathtaking power. Pachinko is a stunning achievement, full of heart, full of grace, full of truth.
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee is a great book, a passionate story, a novel of magisterial sweep. It’s also fiendishly readable—the real deal. An instant classic, a quick page-turner, and probably the best book of the year.
Both for those who love Korea, as well as for those who know no more than Hyundai, Samsung and kimchi, this extraordinary book will prove a revelation of joy and heartbreak. I could not stop turning the pages, and wished this most poignant of sagas would never end. Min Jin Lee displays a tenderness and wisdom ideally matched to an unforgettable tale that she relates just perfectly.
Deeply compelling story. An old-fashioned epic whose simple, captivating storytelling delivers both wisdom and truth.
A beautifully crafted story of love, loss, determination, luck, and perseverance.
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Lee makes it impossible not to develop tender feelings towards her characters—all of them, even the most morally compromised. Their multifaceted engagements with identity, family, vocation, racism, and class are guaranteed to provide your most affecting sobfest of the year. (Maria Cristina Garcia Lynch)
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PACHINKO is about paying dues to a forgotten history; to the complex and fraught Japan-Korea relationship that endured well into the 90s and lingers to this day. But it doesn’t wear its heart—or historical truths—on its sleeve. What drives this novel is the magisterial force of Lee’s characterization; her ability to ground the narrative deeply and intimately in the details of daily life. Also threaded through it are questions of home, identity, nationhood and tradition—including the belief of its female protagonists that ‘a woman’s lot is to suffer.’
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Through it all is a message about love, faith, and the deep-rooted bonds of family. Min Jin Lee gives us a phenomenal story about one family’s struggle that resonates with us today. It will take hold of you and not let go!
Top 10 Books of February of the Canadian Library Association’s Loan Stars Program