Sunday, June 14, 2020

Review: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Title: Pachinko
Author: Min Jin Lee
Year Published: 2017

Genre: Adult fiction
Pages: 512
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2020 Google Reading map): Korea and Japan

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): 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.

Review: I finished a book! School is done so, even though the pandemic is still raging, I have more brain cells to focus on reading. Yay! And, I love the cover; it fits the feeling of the story well.

This is the type of book I really enjoy: it follows a family through multiple generations and reminds me of books by Lisa See and Gail Tsukiyama. I like learning about the family, the country they live in, cultural issues, and more. I learned about Korean and Japanese cultures and history as well as the interactions between the two groups, which is all super interesting.

Sunja, the cog in this family wheel, is a good character. She sacrifices everything for her family, not considering what she wants. That's frustrating, but I can also see that because of her selfless actions, her family prospers, has opportunities, and more. There are so many characters in this book and, while I didn't "like" them all, I found them fascinating and necessary to keep the story going.

I highly recommend this book is you are into family sagas and dramas.

Challenges for which this counts: 
This book fits the Popsugar Challenge because it is set in Japan, host of the 2020 (well, now 2021) Olympics

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