eBook - 2017
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"A new tour de force from the bestselling author of Free Food for Millionaires, for readers of The Kite Runner and Cutting for Stone. PACHINKO follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all. Deserted by her lover, Sunja is saved when a young tubercular minister offers to marry and bring her to Japan. So begins a sweeping saga of an exceptional family in exile from its homeland and caught in the indifferent arc of history. Through desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs, its members are bound together by deep roots as they face enduring questions of faith, family, and identity"--
In early 1900s Korea, Sunja is the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family. Her unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all. Deserted by her lover, Sunja is saved when a young tubercular minister offers to marry and bring her to Japan. Caught in the indifferent arc of history, through desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs, Sunja's family members are bound together by deep roots as they face enduring questions of faith, family, and identity.
Publisher: New York : Grand Central Publishing, 2017.
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781455563913
Branch Call Number: eBook OverDrive
Characteristics: 1 online resource (490 pages)
text file,rda
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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Nov 30, 2018

2 1/2 stars. At the beginning I was intrigued by the main character and her mother. Then the book veered off into to-good-to-be-true coincidences and cardboard characters. Undoubtedly the Korean people who spent WW2 in Japan suffered greatly but the writing was too wooden to make the reader truly appreciate this. After oh-so-many coincidences, the characters got quite boring and I no longer cared how it ended - I started skipping paragraphs, then pages, then just put it aside about 65 pages from the end. I had expected a lot more from this book and author, given the good reviews.

Nov 29, 2018

I cannot believe how disappointed I was by this book!!! Having lived in Southeast Asia and traveled throughout the region, I normally seek out and respect Asian authors. In addition the story of this family covers two of the most significant events of the 20th century in Japan and Korea. The story begins in Korea with a girl in trouble - classic beginning of hundreds of novels. A kind Christian man marries the girl and they end up moving to Japan. It is common knowledge that the Japanese culture of the 20th century treated Koreans with less than respect. The family ekes out a living, gradually becoming more successful. The husband is thrown in prison for not properly respecting Japanese tradition. The family is living in Japan during World War II. Does this not deserve some observations other than that the Japanese were put in detention camps in the U.S. and yes by the way an uncle moves to Nagasaki. He escapes the bomb, but is burned. World War II gets a couple of pages. What about the opportunity to discuss the comfort women of Korea who were kidnapped by the Japanese to be sexual slaves to the military. They are still trying to get justice. I guess they were not important compared to pachinko. Then we have the Korean War which is barely mentioned. What is mentioned is a lot of sex and abortions and how to set the pachinko games so that there are not many winners. There is even voyeurism because a woman is not getting enough sex at home. Never mind that the family is being funded by a member of the Yakuza Japanese crime syndicate. Really is this what is important for readers to know about Korean culture and history? The book begins with the sentence: History has failed us, but no matter. Actually the author has failed history and its profound effect upon Koreans in the 20th century. Kristi & Abby Tabby

Sep 22, 2018

Pachinko is an excellent read, it has such humility, honesty, and an unfiltered look at the non-romantic version of poverty and immigration. It touches on suicide, illness, and immense family and societal pressure especially in a home that is only made by family and not by nationality. Great read, but I especially recommend this for all children of immigrants, it has a lot of truth and lots of lessons to learn.

Sep 11, 2018

A saga, delivered in a less consistent narrative style, felt heavier than it's substantiated. Collage of ordinary characters with extraordinary characteristics float by in the river of history, their fate is watched over by God and as if played by Pachinko.
It's a shame that I only learned about my island kins in such a pronounced way until now.
I may not be more than impressed by the major female figures - the paragon of traditional values, but Noa is the core, and through him I feel author's near finesse.
"Sunja's tryst with Hansu" is beautifully rendered, while "Sex in the park", with its elaboration to appeal to contemporary readers (perhaps?), is such a smear to mess up the book.
Isak's short life has the most tear-jerking ending, other deaths (major and minor) are lightly touched without reduced tragic effect - a master stroke.

Aug 10, 2018

The story begins in the early 20th century in South Korea with a young man who is crippled by a club foot and has a cleft palate. He wins a wife and they are able to have one daughter (Sunjan). That daughter is his treasure and he teaches her about unconditional love. That love is passed on through the generations despite hardship and tragedy. The story ends in 1989, but we can see that the love and faith of Sunjan endures.

DCLadults Aug 09, 2018

Historical Fiction at it's best! Beautiful writing, fully developed characters and interesting places. A great book group selection! A National Book Award Finalist. A TV series is in development at Apple.

ArapahoeKati Aug 01, 2018

Lush, evocative, beautiful. The kind of book you want to savor. I spent a month reading this because I didn't want it to end. A read-alike for "Memoirs of a Geisha" or if you love family sagas with great attention to historical detail.

Jul 25, 2018

I know very little about Korean history and I think that made this book an educational, as well as an entertaining read. Of course I’m aware that women have been treated very badly in most countries and throughout most time periods, but every time I read another historical fiction novel it really comes to life for me. This one is beautifully written and even though it’s a long book the story flowed quickly. It’s the story of a Korean family who is moved to Japan due to circumstances beyond their control. I think this is one of the references to the game of Pachinko, which is a game of luck, but we learn in the book that sometimes the owners of Pachinko parlors rig the game. The story immersed me in the characters so much that I felt like the family could have been real! I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more by this author.

somanybooksHPL Jul 05, 2018

A long book, that is a quick read as it is seamlessly written. A story that could be about almost any immigrant experience. Historical, current, love, drama, mystery all wrapped into one.

May 27, 2018

This sweeping character drama is set in Korea and Japan between 1910 and 1990. During this time, Japan had colonized Korea and the Koreans living in Japan were often treated as lower class humans. The suffering, perseverance, and ultimate success of stoic Korean women is a central theme in this book. Richly detailed characterization dramatically brings this fascinating chapter of East Asian history to life.

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Aug 23, 2017

Sexual Content: explicit sexual content


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