Book - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"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"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Grand Central Publishing, 2017
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781455563937
Branch Call Number: LEE
Characteristics: 490 pages ; 24 cm


From Library Staff

In early 1900s Korea, prized daughter Sunja finds herself pregnant and alone, bringing shame on her family until a young minister offers to marry her and move with her to Japan, in the saga of one family bound together as their faith and identity are called into question. (NoveList Plus)

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
May 03, 2020

This book was enjoyable and very interesting but often as soon as I became invested in a character they died or the story moved on to something else. Also it seemed more like a story of a lot of people but the plot of the story didn't seem as satisfying as I had hoped. More like a documentary than a story that takes you for a ride.

Mar 05, 2020

The inside jacket gives an accurate description of what the book is about so I won’t rehash it. When I put this book down for the day I can’t say that I couldn’t wait to pick it up again. Slow moving, way too long and drawn out. Good historical insight however into what life was like for ordinary Koreans under Imperial Japanese colonial control. Interesting perspective of Korean’s view of Americans during our (sadly) forgotten war on a peninsula that is still a danger to the region’s stability to this day.

wendybird Mar 04, 2020

This is one of the finest novels I have read in ages. Part family saga, part historical fiction, and certainly part magic, writer Min Jin Lee worked with the text for 30 years, and has crafted it finely. The tale itself begins in 1900, with Sunja, a young woman & fisherman's daughter, as she falls in love at the Korean seaside. It sweeps through 4 generations of Koreans living in Japan, taking the reader from the bustling street markets, all the way to the glistening new towers of Osaka and Tokyo.
The story is compelling - one of those books that has you making excuses so you could go back to reading it.

Mar 03, 2020

Read up to end of chap. 6.

Feb 16, 2020

The author writes in an amalgam of styles, flitting from the lyrical to banal to prosaic and then to the humdrum of daily life - - with some occasional profound passages. An interesting fact as fiction portrayal of generations of one Korean-Japanese family, with tangential interludes of intervening lives.
Knockout of an ending!

Feb 11, 2020

If Min Jin Lee made a statement in her debut novel "free food for millionaires," she shows in "Pachinko" that she is here to stay. In this book she shows the angst of Korean immigrants in Japan - immigrants after being there for four generations and being born there. The characters are sketched well and I felt for them.

Feb 10, 2020

The book is sweeping and overwhelmed me in the best way. I felt such affinity with the characters' internalization of shame based on the legal and social discrimination of the time and legacies of both. The book is more that that. It is broad and by the end of it you'll be wanting to more fully understand your grandmothers and their un-named sacrifices and hopes for themselves.

Jan 24, 2020

The first two parts were great and very engaging and would have been an almost perfect book if it ended there. It felt like she lost her way with the last part and it didn't fit as well with the rest of the book. Still a good book and worth the read.

debwalker Jan 22, 2020

This multi-generational tale follows a poor Korean immigrant family in Japan.

Jan 08, 2020

In the style of Maeve Binchy...a beautiful read.

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability
Feb 19, 2020

carolinemichelle thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


Add Notices
Aug 23, 2017

Sexual Content: explicit sexual content


Add a Quote
Aug 23, 2019

Yoseb could understand the boy’s anger, but he wanted another chance to talk to him, to tell Noa that a man must learn to forgive—to know what is important, that to live without forgiveness was a kind of death with breathing and movement.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at BPL

To Top