FictionPachinko by Min Jin Lee

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

 F R I D A Y F A V O U R I T E

‘Never judge a book by its cover’, or so the maxim goes. I have to say, when it came to Pachinko, I most definitely made a judgement call based on its cover — I bought it precisely because it is honestly one of most beautiful covers I have *ever* seen. 

Pachinko is perhaps the ultimate multi-generational family saga. It opens in 1910 in Busan, Korea, with the story of Hoonie and his wife, Yangjin, who gives birth to Sunja — their fourth child, but the first to survive. When Sunja falls pregnant by a married yakuza (essentially, a gangster), her only way out is to leave her homeland and travel to Japan with a Christian minister — and she becomes his wife. 

Magisterial and sweeping, Pachinko spans almost 100 years. The detail with which Min Jin Lee writes is breathtaking; you will literally feel like you are there — in Busan, in Osaka, in Yokohama, in Tokyo. This is a story of a family’s endurance and what it means to be an immigrant, to be an outsider, on the quest for a ‘better life.’ The struggles of Koreans in Japan are portrayed with empathy and tenderness, bringing to the fore a world that I certainly knew very little of. I was absorbed, mesmerised and captivated from the very beginning. Don’t let the length of this book put you off (it’s 531 pages, to be precise) — I genuinely didn’t want it to end.

~ Sophie 

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