Yeongdo, Korea 1911. In a small fishing village on the banks of the East Sea, a club-footed, cleft-lipped man marries a fifteen-year-old girl. The couple have one child, their beloved daughter Sunja. When Sunja falls pregnant by a married yakuza, the family face ruin. But then Isak, a Christian minister, offers her a chance of salvation: a new life in Japan as his wife. Following a man she barely knows to a hostile country in which she has no friends, no home, and whose language she cannot speak, Sunjas salvation is just the beginning of her story. Through eight decades and four generations, Pachinko is an epic tale of family, identity, love, death and survival. ...
|Format Type||:||Kindle Edition|
|Number of Pages||:||496 pages|
|Url Type||:||Home » Pachinko » Pachinko|
I picked this from Book of the Month last year, and then my in-person book club voted to read it in the 2017-18 season. Since we aren't reading it until June, I was going to wait, but then saw the author would be coming to my town on February 5, and I wanted to go see her read and get my book signed. Then it was included in the shortlist for the Tournament of Books, so basically I needed to read it. It also counts for the Reading Women challenge, as a book on their 2017 shortlist. This checks a ...more
I kicked off 2018 by reading some of the best of 2017. This was the last book of the project. Here are the selections; here's Digg's aggregate top ten list.
Pachinko is like gambling on pinball machines, so I don't know how that hasn't destroyed civilization yet, good lord.
Here's a cheesy browser game if you wanna get the general idea. You shoot the ball, it bangs around, things light up, you win or you don't.
So this makes an effective metaphor, if a pretty thudding and obvious one: "Life's going ...more
This one was just okay to me. I got some historical context around ethical discrimination in Japan against people originally from Korea, and women’s subservient status in Japanese/Korean society in the first half of the 20th century. Neither the plot nor the writing stood out. Most characters felt over-simplified, with only two primary dimensions: selfish or altruistic, conventional or rebellious. The fact that the two brothers with dramatically different personalityes, and without contact for m ...more
I couldn't put this book down. I would give it 4 stars because I did really like it (not there with all out love) but I had to bump it to 5 for the fact that I couldn't put it down. A completely absorbing book set in a time, place, and culture I am completely unfamiliar, and rather ignorant, with. Beautifully written, poignant, sad, and matter of fact at times in regards to life in Korea/Japan in the years preceding WW2 through 1989, Pachinko will leave you thoughtful and perhaps a bit haunted i ...more
Alright, after thinking about this one for the last 24 hours or so, I think I've figured out how to articulate what I didn't like about it.
But first I want to start with the stuff I did really enjoy. The book taught me a lot about the dynamic between Koreans & Japanese, especially in the early to mid-20th century. I had no idea about any of the historical context within which this book was set. And I found learning about it, especially as the author traced these themes and historical element ...more
One of the things I like about reading well written historical fiction is that it can take me to another time and place and can be a profound learning experience. I knew close to nothing about the Japanese occupation of Korea from 1910 through WWII. Last year I read Tiger Pelt which introduced me to this time in Korea which was horrific in so many ways for the Koreans. While this novel begins in a village in Korea, most of the story takes place in various places in Japan, but this is a Korean st ...more
Despite this being a 480 pg mini brick of a book, I absolutely flew through Pachinko on two commutes and a night. It's a sweeping, multi-generational epic of a Korean family, and we follow their collective and individual rises and falls, triumphs and failures, in 19010 - 1930 in Korea under Japanese occupation, and in Japan from 1930 - 1989 as expatriates and Zainichi Koreans. The characters are memorable, well-drawn, and their circumstances and hurdles extremely compelling, from family shame of ...more
Feel like I’ve just read two separate books. I really enjoyed the first half, but not so much the second. The timespan this novel encompasses includes several generations of characters, however, I only really felt connected to the ones from the first part and I missed them in the second. Not crazy about the title & think a better one could’ve work better at representing the subject. I did love learning more about Korea and its resilient heritage. Overall, a good novel. 3.5 stars rounding up ...more