Minnesota Public Radio: The Thread’s Book of the Week
A novel that asks: How do we forgive the ones we love?
By Tracy Mumford · May 6, 2017
Ask a bookseller: Zandbroz Variety in Fargo, N.D.
May 5, 2017
Every week, The Thread checks in with booksellers around the country about their favorite books of the moment. This week, we spoke with Josie Danz, a manager at Zandbroz Variety in Fargo, N.D.
Josie Danz grew up in the bookstore — Zandbroz is a family business.
Lately, she’s been recommending “Pachinko,” a new novel by Min Jin Lee.
It’s a sweeping family saga set in Korea and Japan. The story spans nearly the entire 20th century, following four generations through colonial rule, war and dislocation. For Danz, who has read a lot of historical fiction, it offered a different perspective on events like World War II and the Korean War. Much of the fiction on the market tells those stories from a Western perspective.
It all begins with Sunja, a young girl in a Korean fishing village who falls in love with an older man. When she becomes pregnant, she learns he is already married.
To spare her from social disgrace, a visiting minister agrees to marry Sunja himself. Together, they move to Japan.
“I found this novel very relevant to today’s world, just because it’s about outsiders, familial roles and also the politically marginalized. For me, it drew a lot of questions of what makes a nation, what defines a home, how do we define family, and how do we define what loyalty is to family?” Danz said. “Also, how do we learn to forgive those we’re closest to?”
“Anyone that wants to read a book about historical fiction or a family epic, but wants a different cast of characters with a different historical viewpoint, this is the book for them.”