[Pictured is a hardcover copy of Pachinko laying flat on the ground. It is mostly surrounded by green grasses and yellow flowers but some small stones are visible to the left.]
Author: Min Jin Lee
Rating: 5/5 ⭐
Genre: Historical Fiction
Summary: This book is a family saga following 4 generations of a Korean family from 1910 to 1989. The story begins in Korea and follows Sunja when she moves to Japan with her new husband.
I can’t recommend this book enough! It’s a masterpiece. I was so invested in each member in the family and all the subsequent generations. I started this on audio on my drive home from Book Con and it didn’t take long for me to get pulled in. I was honestly more awake later in my drive than I started because I already fell into the story. After that, I couldn’t wait to get back into my car to listen to it more! I’m so thankful I had a physical copy to dive into when I needed to know what happened next but didn’t have anywhere to drive to lol.
I don’t think there’s any better way describe this story as “sweeping” and despite being nearly 500 pages in length I would not have objected to more. I loved every minute of reading this book!
I also learned a lot about Korean history which I probably should have already been taught. I think we all know the state of the American school system so I suppose it’s not at all surprising that I never knew Japan had at one time invaded and taken control of Korea. This is a part of history that I don’t think is discussed much in the U.S. I mean, I feel like I barely learned about the Korean War that the U.S. was involved in!
Another historical aspect I have never thought much about is countries where being born there doesn’t automatically make you a citizen. Can you imagine living in the country where you were born, where your parents were born, and you’ve never left, yet you are not a citizen? I’ve always enjoyed learning about history through historical fiction. It brings a human element in that you don’t always get through nonfiction.
What are some books I should read if I want to learn about the history of other countries that I wasn’t taught in school? No need to recommend me books praising our “founding fathers.” I got plenty of that.