Book - 2017
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National Bestseller
Roxane Gay's Favorite Book of 2017, Washington Post
In this bestselling, page-turning saga, four generations of a poor Korean immigrant family fight to control their destiny in 20th-century Japan, exiled from a home they never knew.

"There could only be a few winners, and a lot of losers. And yet we played on, because we had hope that we might be the lucky ones."

In the early 1900s, teenaged Sunja, the adored daughter of a crippled fisherman, falls for a wealthy stranger at the seashore near her home in Korea. He promises her the world, but when she discovers she is pregnant-and that her lover is married-she refuses to be bought. Instead, she accepts an offer of marriage from a gentle, sickly minister passing through on his way to Japan. But her decision to abandon her home, and to reject her son's powerful father, sets off a dramatic saga that will echo down through the generations.

Richly told and profoundly moving, Pachinko is a story of love, sacrifice, ambition, and loyalty. From bustling street markets to the halls of Japan's finest universities to the pachinko parlors of the criminal underworld, Lee's complex and passionate characters-strong, stubborn women, devoted sisters and sons, fathers shaken by moral crisis-survive and thrive against the indifferent arc of history.
Publisher: New York (State) :, Hachette Book Group,, 2017
ISBN: 9781455563920
Branch Call Number: F LEE
Characteristics: 527 pages


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Apr 28, 2019

The first copy of this book that I received from the library was sprinkled with what I think were plucked eyebrow hairs. Disgusting, but the book was seriously engaging, so I ignored them and read on. About halfway through, though, there was a booger. That was too much for me, so I returned that copy and had to wait in line again for another one. Now the new one has arrived and on the very first page there is something that looks suspiciously like another booger. Honestly, what is going on with you KCLS patrons? This is far from the first time I have come across human detritus in KCLS library books, including hairs from all parts of the body and food crumbs. You know that in all my years in reading library books in other parts of the country and abroad I have never run across any of this disgusting stuff? What is it, are you people just inured to it?

Apr 13, 2019

Arlene or Joanne rec'd

Apr 10, 2019

loved this book and everyone in my book club was very glad to have read it
great generational story, great insights
so much can be related to colonized peoples all over the world
as the author says - how to live when the people where you live wish you were dead

Apr 06, 2019

A wonderful saga of four generations of Korean and Japanese people and history. Well written, with a feeling of acceptance of each life as it unfolds that echoes some eastern philosophies. Great characters and historic events from a new point of view - the point of view of Koreans who suffered under Japanese colonization pre and during WWII and then the Korean War which has never ended. Pachinko is a game played on a machine that is something like a pin ball machine standing up vertically. It is played with passion in Japan per the author and internet investigation. There is a limited betting component and Pachinko shops were one of few businesses open to Koreans living in Japan during the early and mid 1900s.

Mar 30, 2019


Chapel_Hill_MarthaW Feb 28, 2019

This almost reminded me of a Victorian novel, in the sense of its ambitious scope (the better part of the 20th century) and its focus on a wide cast of characters (four generations of the same family). The characters are the real joy of this book -- they are developed so thoughtfully and with such nuance that they feel like real people you know, though the leaps forward in time (often by several years) to different points in their lives can occasionally feel frustrating, since you feel like you're missing out on moments with people you've come to care for. The central theme of this novel is that life, like the titular game, is full of wins and losses -- more of the latter than the former, but you continue on hoping to be one of the lucky ones. This makes for a read that is occasionally depressing -- the fate of one character in particular was a bit of a gut punch -- but completely engrossing.

Feb 08, 2019

This was a wonderful story, told over generations. I highly recommend it.

Feb 02, 2019

Fascinating story of Koreans trying to live and succeed in Japan, where they are never fully accepted and face rampant discrimination. The theme of assimilating in a land where all anyone see is your 'otherness,' permeates this novel. And different characters try different approaches to cope in their new land, with some trying to be the perfect immigrant, others throwing themselves into fulfilling the worst stereotypes assigned to them. It's a very timely book for any person of color living in America these days.

Jan 28, 2019

A perfect read for anyone who likes historical fiction, multi-generational family sagas or cultural stories with exotic settings.

Dec 30, 2018


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Aug 23, 2017

Sexual Content: explicit sexual content

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