Vox: The Best Books I read in 2017
By Ezra Klein, Editor-at-Large
The first sentence of this National Book Award finalist takes no prisoners. “History has failed us, but no matter,” writes Min Jin Lee.
I don’t read as much fiction as I should, and the pleasure I got from reading Pachinko only deepened that shame. The book tracks multiple generations of a Korean family living in Japan as they’re buffeted by war, bigotry, and the daily struggles of life. Even as I read that last sentence, I recognize that it’s the sort of recommendation that would make me think a book is Good and Important but probably a slog. Pachinko isn’t.
What’s more, it tracks the era in which Korea is sliced into halves, in which Koreans lose control of their own destiny, in which they are treated as pawns by the Americans and as subhuman by the Japanese, and is thus powerful context for today’s geopolitics.
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