Monday, August 6, 2018

Book Brief: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee


by Min Jin Lee
Grand Central Publishing, 2017
paperback, 500 pages

narrated by Allison Hiroto
Hachette Audio, 2017
18 hours and 16 minutes

Motivation for reading: I love a good family saga and knew I'd read this eventually. My daughter gave me the final push to do it NOW.

Source: purchased paperback/audible credit for audio

Publisher's summary:
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.

Opening line:
History has failed us, but no matter.
My thoughts:
Steeped in time and place, characters so real and deep, rich in history... there is much to love in this multi-generational family saga and I relished every single page.

Pachinko was a read/listen combination for me. It almost felt like I was living in this novel. I read in every free moment and listened while I walked, cleaned, cooked, gardened, drove...

Allison Hiroto was a new-to-me narrator and I thought her performance was excellent.

Pachinko will certainly be a favorite for 2018. It may even end up on my list of all-time favorites, too. Don't miss this gem!

My rating:



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32 comments:

  1. I will have to find this one after reading your rave review. Thank you, Jo Ann.

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  2. The book group that I attend (but don't moderate anymore - happily!) has this one scheduled for November. It's not a book that I would have normally picked up, but I'm going to try it. By the way, take a look at what I've been reading/listening to lately. All 4 of the quartet set in Naples by Elena Ferrante. I finished the whole thing last week. Talk about a set of books that I never thought I'd read. Same book group.

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    1. Kay - I think I'd love to be in that book group! Your post about My Brilliant Friend really surprised me - not a "Kay book" at all. Maybe you'll have the same experience with Pachinko.

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  3. I enjoyed this book as well. I'm almost willing to say I loved it, but I found the conclusion not quite as good as I expected. Still, I have be pushing it on everyone I know, and it was one of my favorite reads last year.

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    1. James - I know what you mean about the ending, but it didn't really bother me. I happened to finish this book around the same time PBS's Now Read This book club was discussing it. Here are two interviews with the author that I really enjoyed... you might like them, too.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoCW7GjbpQk
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5HRArtdq-E

      I'm glad to see you blogging again :)

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  4. I loved this book too and was lucky enough to meet the author - she is one smart cookie. I've got her first book and want to read it soon.

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    1. Kathy - I was also very impressed with the author after seeing her take reader questions on PBS. (I linked to the interview in my comment to James above.) Her last book, Free Food For Millionaires, was a kindle daily deal last week, so I picked it up, too!

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  5. You akways have suggestions for me that take me beyond my usual sphere of reading...I just need to follow more of them. What a lovely cover, too!

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  6. This isn't a genre I read but your review has me considering it.

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    1. Vicki - Since you enjoy audiobooks, that might be the way to go. Maybe your library has a copy :)

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  7. Wow! A potential candidate for your all time favorites list. That's high praise indeed. I've always shied away from Pachinko and I'm not sure why. It seems it's one I might need to reconsider.

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    1. Susie - I've always loved family sagas and haven't read one this this good in years!

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  8. I member of my book group recently bought, read and raved about this one. I place a hold for the audio Layaway from the library. Glad you enjoyed this one.

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    1. Diane - I'm going to recommend this to my book club in a couple of weeks. Hope they decided to read it!

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  9. This might be a good audio for me to try!

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    1. Patty - I thought the audio was very well done. Hope you give it a try!

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  10. The cover alone is enough to draw me in. Beautiful 🤠🐧

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    1. Pam - The hardcover and audio covers are gorgeous, too!

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  11. I bought this for a book club gift exchange last year but the person who got it never did mention if she read it. It sounds great but I, myself, don't own a copy and I kind of forgot about it. There is another more colorful cover that caught my eye. Maybe it's the UK version.

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    1. Ti - That's the hardcover edition... I think it's more attractive, too.

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  12. One of my favourites from this year too!
    I read it after returning from Japan which added another layer to my sense of the time and place.

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    1. Brona - That timing must have made the book even more special for you! I recently purchased her first novel, Free Food for Millionaires, as a kindle daily deal. My mother is reading it now and says she loves it so far... a good sign!

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  13. You and Kathy both loved this, so I'm adding it to my list. I think I'll try it in print, though. I'm finding that the only audiobooks that hold my interest these days are mysteries.

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    1. Les - Sorry you're struggling with audiobooks these days. My mother and sister both loved Pachinko in print, too.

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  14. I'm waiting for just the right moment to read Pachinko. I have a copy so I'm all set. I'm really looking forward to it --- and I'm so glad you liked it!

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    1. Susan - It's a surprisingly quick read for such a long book. Hope you love it, too!

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  15. It really is a book I won't forget!

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    1. Lisa - A couple of weeks ago I got her earlier book, Free Food for Millionaires, as a kindle daily deal. Only 1/3 in now and it's very different - much more contemporary, but I'm enjoying it.

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  16. I really need to just go on and dive into this one. Heather loved it, too, and has been ON ME to get to it!

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    1. Andi - Heather is right! You NEED to read this book!

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. These conversations are my favorite part of blogging. Please check back, I almost always respond to comments!

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