Min Jin Lee immigrated to Queens with her mother, father, and two sisters when she was seven years old. The backdrop of her bestselling debut novel, Free Food for Millionaires, a coming-of-age story of an immigrant college graduate, was set in her childhood neighborhood of Elmhurst. Now, after ten years, Lee’s second novel, Pachinko, follows a Korean-Japanese family across four generations. Lee learned about the history of the Korean-Japanese community in 1989, when she was a junior in college, and has worked on this novel ever since. Pachinko is the story of Sunja, a young woman who loves her family and struggles to survive in the face of historical upheavals and injustice. Lee says that to work on books for such a long time requires love. So, in the month of hearts and cupids, Lee shares the books that, for her, define love: Ain’t I a Woman by bell hooks
I recommend CLAY WALLS by Ronyoung Kim wholeheartedly as a seminal work by an important immigrant author.
I had already failed at two novel manuscripts. Publishers had rejected my first manuscript, and I rejected the second, because it was not good enough to send out. I was 32 years old and beginning my third novel.
March 11, 2011, fell on a Friday, the day I run errands and go to the market. Until 2:46 p.m., about an hour before my thirteen-year-old son, Sam, would return home from his international school in Chofu, a suburb of Tokyo, it had been a good day. Once in a rare while in the life of a writer struggling on her sophomore novel, it’s possible to achieve a state of semi-contentedness by producing a few decent pages, and that morning was a halcyon interlude in my otherwise grumbling condition. After printing out my day’s work, I tidied the house, raced to the bank, paid my utility bills, then mulled over what to make for dinner for Sam and my husband, Christopher.
조선일보 아침논단 by Min Jin Lee