News

Pachinko is a National Book Awards Finalist for Fiction
By Colin Dwyer
National Book Awards Longlist for FICTION
So profoundly honored and grateful that PACHINKO made the National Book Awards Longlist for Fiction. Thank you.
Washington Post: PACHINKO is Roxane Gay’s Favorite Book of 2017
 
Daily Mail UK: Review of 10th Anniversary Edition of FREE FOOD FOR MILLIONAIRES
LITERARY FICTION
South China Morning Post: 10th Anniversary Review of FREE FOOD FOR MILLIONAIRES
Book review: Min Jin Lee’s Free Food for Millionaires, a modern-day Middlemarch but more fun, gets deserved re-release
New York Times Book Review: What We’re Reading (Podcast)
On this week’s podcast, Judith Newman talks about new parenting books; Bill Goldstein discusses “The World Broke in Two: Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, D.H. Lawrence, E.M. Forster, and the Year That Changed Literature”; Alexandra Alter has news from the literary world; and Gregory Cowles, Parul Sehgal and John Williams on what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.
Irish Times: Book Review by John Boyne
“A MASTERPIECE OF EMPATHY, INTEGRITY AND FAMILY LOYALTY” : Min Jin Lee tells an endearing tale of hardship and inhumanity suffered by Koreans
Sydney Morning Herald
By Peter Craven
New York Times: Match Book Recommends Pachinko
By Nicole Lamy
Vineyard Gazette: Profile
When the Odds Favor the House, It’s Still Important to Feel Lucky
New Republic
 
Book Riot: The Buzziest Books of 2017 So Far: Critical Linking
By Amanda Nelson
BookBub: The Buzziest Books of 2017 (So Far)
By Kristina Wright
British Airways High Life: Recommended Books
Guardian: Best Holiday Reads 2017 Selected by Writers
By Tash Aw
Best Books of 2017 (So Far): Book Riot
PACHINKO by Min Jin Lee FICTION Pachinko is an epic family saga that follows four generations of a Korean family from the early 1900s through the 1980s. The family immigrates to Japan early on in the story and Min Jin Lee simultaneously explores the changing family dynamics as well as the cultural tension and discrimination against Koreans living in Japan. The characters are complex, the story runs deep, and Min Jin Lee’s writing is descriptive without being overwritten. She pulls you into this family from page one and you never want to leave them.
Irish Times: Summer Reading Top Picks
What are Anne Enright, John Boyne and others reading this Summer?
McKinsey & Co.: What CEOs are Reading in 2017
Gail Kelly, member of the Group of Thirty and former CEO, Westpac
The Australian (Book Review)
By Alex Griffin
Irish Independent (Profile)
I had the pleasure of meeting Andrew Lynch of the Irish Independent. A profile of my work appears in the Review (Irish Independent) on June 24, 2017. Thank you. Link: http://bit.ly/2so7qQy
Amazon Best Books of the Year So Far 2017
Pachinko makes the Amazon list of BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR SO FAR 2017 in the category of LITERATURE & FICTION.
Village Voice: NYC’s Best Independent Booksellers Share their Picks for Summer Reading
By Atossa Araxia Abrahamian
World Magazine
By Marvin Olasky
Esquire Magazine: Best Books of 2017 (So Far)
Pachinko made the list, edited by Angela Ledgerwood.
WAMC: The Book Show with Joe Donahue (Podcast)
Episode 1506
BookPage: 12 Best Novels of Immigrants and Refugees
By Cat, the Deputy Editor of BookPage
Hay Festival 2017
I had the pleasure of attending the Hay Festival on May 27, 2017, and the organizers asked me to record my impressions of my first time there.
Nikkei Asian Review: Profile
By Fran Kuzui, Contributing Writer
Irish Times (Podcast with Roisin Ingle)
By Jennifer Ryan
The Times Literary Supplement: Podcast
I had the chance to speak with Stig Abell and Thea Lenarduzzi about the books I reviewed for The Times Literary Supplement on its wonderful podcast. The segment on the literature about North Korea begins on 25.01.
Times Literary Supplement: Book Review of books by Bandi, J.M. Lee, Mun-yol Yi, and Jieun Baek
Fictions of North Korea
Asia Society: Interview
 
New Statesman: Book Review
By Neel Mukherjee
The Booklist Reader: 12 Titles to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
By Terry Hong
The Washington Post Bestseller: May 7, 2017
HARDCOVER  FICTION
Minnesota Public Radio: The Thread’s Book of the Week
A novel that asks: How do we forgive the ones we love?
CUNY TV: ASIAN AMERICAN LIFE INTERVIEW (Video)
The interview with Kyung B. Yoon begins on minute 10.15.
The Boston Globe: The Story Behind the Book
By Kate Tuttle GLOBE CORRESPONDENT  APRIL 21, 2017
Australian Financial Review: Best Books of the Month
This month’s 3 best books: Reviews of A Writing Life, House of Names, Pachinko
Asian Review of Books (Book Review)
 
People Magazine 2017
San Francisco Chronicle: Recommended Reading
Pachinko
Washington Post: Book Review of Pachinko Audio
PACHINKO
San Francisco Chronicle (Book Review)
By Anita Felicelli
Esquire: Top 10 Best Books of 2017 (So Far)
By Angela Ledgerwood
Michigan Daily
‘Pachinko’ is an intimate yet expansive immigrant story
Winnipeg Free Press (Book Review)
Koreans in Japan search for success in Lee’s sumptuous sophomore novel
The Times Literary Supplement: Book Review
Min Jin Lee’s Moving Saga of a Korean Family in Japan
Ploughshares: Book Review
Pachinko Min Jin Lee Grand Central Publishing, Feb 2017 496 pp; $27
Ilkley Gazette UK (Book Review)
Book Review by Annie Clay of The Grove Bookshop: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, published in hardback by Apollo at £18.99
Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center & Bloom Magazine
On History, Survival & Intimacy
Reading Women (Podcast)
I got to talk with the wonderful hosts Kendra D. Winchester and Autumn Privett of Reading Women. Thank you, Kendra and Autumn.
The Guardian (UK) Book Review
By Tash Aw
The Japan Times: Profile of Min Jin Lee and PACHINKO
‘Pachinko’ author Min Jin Lee on how Japan’s ethnic Koreans keep beating the odds
Japan Times (Book Review)
‘Pachinko’: Min Jin Lee writes the struggle of an ethnic Korean family in Japan
POPMATTERS: An Interview with Min Jin Lee
BY HANS ROLLMAN
Other Ppl with Brad Listi (PODCAST)
Min Jin Lee speaks with novelist and host Brad Listi of the Other People Podcast. Pachinko is the official February selection of THE NERVOUS BREAKDOWN BOOK CLUB.
The Millions: Pachinko Review
By Steven Williams
Financial Times (Book Review)
By Arifa Akbar
Vanity Fair Magazine: Pachinko
IN SHORT
Foyles Bookstore: Interview on UK Publication Day for PACHINKO
Where did you get the idea for the story?
Daily Mail UK Reviews PACHINKO: “A sheer delight”
By Claire Allfree
LITHUB: 5 Books Making News This Week
By Jane Ciabattari
NYT Editor’s Choice: PACHINKO
10 New Books We Recommend This Week:
Goodreads: Good Minds
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
Elle.com CLAY WALLS
I recommend CLAY WALLS by Ronyoung Kim wholeheartedly as a seminal work by an important immigrant author.
Paste Magazine: Review by Christine An
“History has failed us, but no matter,” begins Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko.
NPR Book Review: Culture Clash, Survival and Hope in PACHINKO
February 7, 20177:00 AM ET
Newsweek: Best New Books of the Week
Newsday: Review
PACHINKO, by Min Jin Lee. This historical novel, by the author of “Free Food for Millionaires,” follows several generations of a Korean family in Japan during the 20th century, where they face poverty and intense discrimination but make a fortune running pachinko parlors, a pinball-like game. Lee has worked her own Asian variation on the immigrant saga. (Grand Central, $27)
National Book Review: Conversation with Sharon Pomerantz
Min Jin Lee’s 2007 national bestselling novel Free Food for Millionaires was set in the world of Korean immigrants and their children striving for success in New York. Addictively readable, it headed up “top ten novels of the year” lists everywhere from The Times of London to NPR and USA Today. Readers and critics alike found it both intellectually compelling and hard to put down (I remember several nights of turning pages at 2 a.m.). Both a feminist story of one young woman’s quest to break away from her immigrant family’s demands and find personal fulfillment, and a hard-hitting social commentary on the toll exacted by the American Dream, Free Food For Millionaires reads less like a debut and more like the work of a long established master. Liesl Schillinger, writing in the New York Times Sunday Book Review, compared the book to Middlemarch by George Eliot; Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
Fusion: PACHINKO
These new books by writers of color shed much needed light on the darkness of Trump’s immigration ban
NPR’s MORNING EDITION: Interview with Lynn Neary (Podcast)
PACHINKO Is A Family Saga of Exile, Discrimination…And Japanese Pinball
NBC’s Bill Goldstein: Pachinko is “Magnificent”
Literary Critic Bill Goldstein selects PACHINKO for Bill’s Books on NBC New York’s Weekend Today in New York
New York Times Book Review Interview with Editor Pamela Paul (Podcast)
The Pachinko Interview segment follows the interviews Editor Pamela Paul has with Daphne Merkin and a report with Alexandra Alter.
The New York Times Book Review: “Stunning Novel”
Home but Not Home: Four Generations of an Ethnic Korean Family in Japan
Exclusive Excerpt on Literary Hub
June 1932
Esquire Magazine: The 5 Books You Should Read in February
By Angela Ledgerwood, host of Lit Up, a podcast about books, writers, and all things literary
Chicago Review of Books: Top Ten Books of February 2017
Pachinko makes the Chicago Review of Books Top Ten Books of February 2017
BookPage Cover Story: Interview by Adam Morgan
February 2017
Book of the Month Club Selection
Pachinko is the February Selection of the historic Book of the Month Club founded in 1926 . Serving as judge, author of Queen of the Night and Edinburgh, Alexander Chee writes:
Amazon’s Best Books of the Month & Best Fiction and Literature of the Month
 
Pachinko is a First Edition Selection for Greenlight Bookstore
The Greenlight Bookstore First Editions Club offers great new literature each month, for building a library or keeping up with what’s new.
Kirkus 12 Excellent Reads
Pachinko makes the Kirkus Reviews 12 Excellent Reads List for February 2017
ProBookNerds Podcast
A Conversation with Adam Sockel of ProBookNerds, sponsored by OverDrive Libraries. Adam Sockel and Min Jin Lee discuss the writing of PACHINKO at the American Library Association Midwinter 2017.
San Diego Magazine: Top 5 Books to Read in February 2017
Your Shelf Life: 5 Books to Read in February
PEN TEN Interview
THE PEN TEN WITH MIN JIN LEE
Origins Journal Interview
Min Jin Lee: Identity, Love, and Exile
Bookish: Best Book Club Picks for February 2017
Pachinko
Toronto Star: “Sweeping and Powerful”
Pachinko
The TNB Announces PACHINKO as its February Book Club Selection
Pachinko is the February TNB Book Club Selection, hand-picked by executive editor Jonathan Evison and TNB founder Brad Listi.
South China Morning Post: Post Magazine
“History has failed us, but no matter.” So begins Korean-American author Min Jin Lee’s gripping new novel about a chapter largely ignored in English literature: the Koreans in Japan.
Buzzfeed: 32 Most Exciting Books of 2017
Min Jin Lee’s novel Pachinko is the portrait of one Korean family through multiple generations, from the early 1900s where prized daughter Sunja’s unexpected pregnancy threatens to bring shame to her poor family until a minister offers to marry her and start a new life together in Japan. Sunja’s descendants live in exile from their true homeland, and face (and rise above) all kinds of challenges, from poverty to discrimination, while establishing their identity and family in a new country.
LitHub: On Selling Your Novel After 11 Years
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.
Book Riot: Most Anticipated Books of 2017
Min Jin Lee’s sophomore novel opens during Imperial Japan’s occupation of Korea, and follows a family through five generations of self-discovery. The breadth and depth of challenges come through clearly, without sensationalization. The sporadic victories are oases of sweetness, without being saccharine. 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.
Top 10 Books of February 2017:
“Librarians pick the next great reads” The Canadian Library Association’s Loan Stars Program
BookBub: 22 Most Anticipated Book Club Reads 2017
A new tour de force from the bestselling author of Free Food for Millionaires, for readers of A Fine Balance and Cutting for Stone.
Elle: 25 Most Anticipated Books by Women 2017
The follow-up to her bestselling debut Free Food for Millionaires, Lee’s new novel is a saga set in 1930s Korea and then Japan, detailing the struggles of one family’s poverty, discrimination, and shame in the wake of a daughter’s pregnancy and subsequent abandonment by her lover. Winning early praise from Junot Díaz and David Mitchell, it looks like Pachinko could be headed for the bestseller lists as well
The Millions: Most Anticipated—The Great 2017 Book Preview
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee: A sweeping look at four generations of a Korean family who immigrates to Japan after Japan’s 1910 annexation of Korea, from the author of Free Food for Millionaires. Junot Díaz says “Pachinko confirms Lee’s place among our finest novelists.” (Lydia)
Daily Mail UK: Top 10 Most Anticipated Books of 2017
100 Reasons It’s Going to Be a Wonderful 2017: Daily Mail UK Event’s List of the Must See Films, TV Shows and Essential Books of the New Year:
Kirkus Reviews: Fiction Editor Laurie Muchnick’s My Own Most-Anticipated List
One of my most treasured possessions is a list of all the books I’ve read for the past 30 years, written chronologically in a blank book I won in a high school essay contest. Every January, I print the new year at the top of the next blank page and think about all the books I’m looking forward to reading in the coming months.
BookBub: 21 of the Biggest Historical Fiction Releases of 2017
A new tour de force from the bestselling author of Free Food for Millionaires, for readers of A Fine Balance and Cutting for Stone.
NYLON: 50 Best New Books 2017
American Booksellers Association: Feb 2017 INDIE NEXT Great Reads Pick
Pachinko: A Novel, by Min Jin Lee (Grand Central Publishing, 9781455563937, $27) “A father’s gentle nature, a mother’s sacrifice, a daughter’s trust, and a son’s determination are the cornerstones of this grand, multilayered saga. Pachinko follows one family through an ever-changing cultural landscape, from 1910 Korea to 1989 Japan. As the bonds of family are put to the test in the harsh realities of their world, Sunja and those she holds dear manage to carve themselves a place to call home with hard work, self sacrifice, and a little kimchi. 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!” —Jennifer Steele, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI
BBC.com: 10 Books to Read in 2017
This immersive novel follows four generations of a Korean family from 1910, when Japan annexed Korea, through most of the 20th Century. An aging fisherman and his wife run a boarding house in a village near the port city of Busan. Their only surviving son, who has a cleft palate and twisted foot, is married at last. When his teenage daughter Sunja becomes pregnant by a visiting businessman, a kind pastor marries her and takes her to Osaka. After he dies, Sunja’s grit and hard work keep the family afloat during the tough war years. Her elder son makes it into Waseda University. Her younger son thrives by running pachinko parlours, where gamblers play machines in a game similar to pinball. But their future is shadowed by past secrets and betrayals.
Booklist Review: Starred Review
*STARRED REVIEW A decade after her international best-selling debut, Free Food for Millionaires (2007), Min Jin 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.”
Publishers Weekly Spring 2017 Announcements: Literary Fiction
Literary Fiction Listings
Stylist UK: Top 10 New Books of 2017
Another book following generations of the same family through history. In 1911 Busan, Korea, we meet Hoonie, born with a club foot and a cleft lip, and married to a 15-year-old girl. When the couple’s one daughter, Sunja, falls pregnant by a married yakuza, salvation comes to her and the family in the form of a young Christian minister, who offers to marry Sunja and take her to Japan.
Center for Fiction: Modern Families (VIDEO)
A Conversation about Modern Families with authors Sonya Chung, Tanwi Nandini Islam, Alden Jones, and Min Jin Lee
Publishers Weekly: “Exquisite meditation on the generational nature of truly forging a home.”
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.)
One Story: Interview with Editor and Novelist Hannah Tinti
HT: What was the seed of this story? What was the first thing you wrote?
Parchment Girl: 50 Amazing New Books 2017
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.
Chicago Review of Books Top Ten Books of February 2017
Pachinko makes the The 10 Best New Books to Read for February 2017.
Vela Magazine: 6 New Books from Diverse Voices
Good novels come to readers who wait.
The Book Report Network: Hachette Book Club Brunch 2016
On Saturday, October 22nd, almost 300 book lovers joined authors and publishing professionals for Hachette’s annual Book Club Brunch — now in its fifth year. Boasting a variety of authors, books and snacks, this event is highly anticipated by readers and sells out nearly every year. The Book Report Network staffers were unable to make it, but we had seven generous readers share their experiences with us, including which authors they connected to most, which books they can’t wait to read, and how the discussion of Min Jin Lee’s PACHINKO — which readers were given the opportunity to read before the event — played out in such a large group.
Library Journal: Starred Review
Set in Korea and Japan, Lee’s follow-up to her acclaimed debut, Free Food for Millionaires, is a beautifully crafted story of love, loss, determination, luck, and perseverance. Sunja is the only surviving child of humble fisherman Hoonie (himself born with a cleft palate and twisted foot) and wife Yangjin in the early 1900s. Losing her father at age 13, Sunja appears to be a dutiful daughter by working at the boardinghouse with her mother, only to surprise the family three years later by becoming pregnant by an older married man with children. She saves face when a minister at the boardinghouse, ten years older than Sunja, offers to marry her and take her to Japan with him to start a new life. What follows is a gripping multigenerational story that culminates in 1989. There are surprising twists, especially when Sunja crosses paths with her former lover while living in Japan. VERDICT Lee’s skillful development of her characters and story lines will draw readers into the work. Those who enjoy historical fiction with strong characterizations will not be disappointed as they ride along on the emotional journeys offered in the author’s latest page-turner. —Shirley Quan, Orange City. P.L., Santa Ana, CA
Kirkus Reviews: Starred Review
An absorbing saga of 20th-century Korean experience, seen through the fate of four generations.
Chicago Review of Books: Why It Took Min Jin Lee’s New Novel 30 Years to Write
From Suki Kim’s The Interpreter to Min Jin Lee’s own Free Food for Millionaires, stories of Koreans and first generation Korean-Americans navigating life in the States span the hysterical, poignant, and bittersweet. But few works exist that detail an entirely different Korean immigrant community: those transplanted just across the sea to Japan. After spending four years living abroad in Tokyo herself, Korean-American lawyer-turned-writer Min Jin Lee has tackled the stories of this underrepresented community in her second novel, Pachinko, forthcoming in February 2017 from Grand Central.
Free Food for Millionaires is Junot Diaz’s Summer Reading Pick at The New Yorker
“Because I teach during the regular months, summer is where I can indulge in what I love most: a free-for-all reading spree. Already got my next four victims lined up. First, a novel I’ve read once before but I can’t resist a double serving of: Min Jin Lee’s “Free Food for Millionaires.” One of the great first novels of the past decade and a book that is simultaneously profound and un-put-down-able. From the moment Casey, our yearning kickass protagonist, finds her white boyfriend in bed with two other gals, this book just grabs on, and it don’t matter whether you’re on a ferry to somewhere awesome or stuck in a lousy job you hate, this book will thrill you to the bone. Lee writes her (and your) ass off. This is one everybody should read.”
VOGUE: Up Front “After the Earthquake”
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.
Chosun Ilbo
조선일보 아침논단 by Min Jin Lee
The Times (of London) Book Review of Free Food for Millionaires
By Melissa Katsoulis July 28, 2017
The New York Times
In her accomplished and engrossing first novel, the Yale-and-Georgetown-law-educated writer Min Jin Lee tells the story of an angry young …
New York Times
As a capable young woman, Casey Han felt compelled to choose respectability and success. But it was glamour and insight that she craved. …
USA Today
Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee may be the right book at the right time. It’s a first novel that, through sheer coincidence, opens a door onto the …
USA Today
As a capable young woman, Casey Han felt compelled to choose respectability and success. But it was glamour and insight that she craved. …