In 1930s Korea, Sunja is pregnant by a lover who has abandoned her. In order to not disgrace her family, she agrees to a marriage that will take her to Japan, which had annexed Korea in 1910. Koreans, however, were never afforded the privileges of Japanese citizenship—whether at home or in Japan. Thus, Sunja’s descendants, who remain in Japan, suffer discrimination, hardship, and poverty. And yet, as is so often the case with immigrants facing overwhelming challenges, Sunja’s family— through hard work — survives and prospers. Min Jin Lee tells a familiar tale, but depicts her characters with such love and admiration we can’t help but cheer them on. Broad in its sweep of history, Pachinko is a testament to the strength of family, history, and identity.
~ Eight Cousins, Holiday Picks 2017— From Holiday Picks 2017
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST * A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW TOP TEN OF THE YEAR * NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2017 *A USA TODAY TOP TEN OF 2017
Roxane Gay's Favorite Book of 2017, Washington Post
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * #1 BOSTON GLOBE BESTSELLER * USA TODAY BESTSELLER
In this gorgeous, page-turning saga, four generations of a poor Korean immigrant family fight to control their destiny in 20th-century Japan, exiled from a home they never knew. "There could only be a few winners, and a lot of losers. And yet we played on, because we had hope that we might be the lucky ones." In the early 1900s, teenaged Sunja, the adored daughter of a crippled fisherman, falls for a wealthy stranger at the seashore near her home in Korea. He promises her the world, but when she discovers she is pregnant--and that her lover is married--she refuses to be bought. Instead, she accepts an offer of marriage from a gentle, sickly minister passing through on his way to Japan. But her decision to abandon her home, and to reject her son's powerful father, sets off a dramatic saga that will echo down through the generations. Richly told and profoundly moving, Pachinko is a story of love, sacrifice, ambition, and loyalty. From bustling street markets to the halls of Japan's finest universities to the pachinko parlors of the criminal underworld, Lee's complex and passionate characters--strong, stubborn women, devoted sisters and sons, fathers shaken by moral crisis--survive and thrive against the indifferent arc of history.
About the Author
Min Jin Lee's debut novel, Free Food for Millionaires, was one of the "Top 10 Novels of the Year" for The Times (London), NPR's Fresh Air, and USA Today. Her short fiction has been featured on NPR's Selected Shorts. Her writings have appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, The Times (London), Vogue, Travel+Leisure, Wall Street Journal, New York Times Magazine, and Food & Wine. Her essays and literary criticism have been anthologized widely. She served as a columnist for the Chosun Ilbo, the leading paper of South Korea. She lives in New York with her family.