Pachinko: by Min Jin Lee | Conversation Starters
Korean-American writer Min Jin Lee published her bestselling novel Pachinko in 2017. This story follows the life of one Korean family through four generations. Their story begins in the early 1900s with their matriarch Sunja. Sunja was once the prized daughter of their family. They weren’t wealthy but they had pride and Sunja’s unplanned pregnancy is shameful to them. Sunja became more heartbroken when her lover betrayed her and refused the child. She found salvation in the arms of a young minister who offers marriage and a fresh start in Japan. This journey leads to the generations of exile in a home they don’t know, in times they aren’t certain of. Sunja’s family go through poverty, discrimination and troubles. Through it all they experience great joy in the pursuit of their passions and triumph as they meet the challenges in this strange land. Their family is bound and rooted in their faith, their kin and their identity.
BBC.com hailed Pachinko as one of the “10 Books to Read in 2017.” They describe this novel as “immersive.” The Japan Times says that Pachinko is “peerless [in its depth and empathy].” The Washington Post describes this family saga “culturally rich, psychologically astute.”
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