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Publisher's Summary

A new tour de force from the best-selling author of Free Food for Millionaires, for fans of A Fine Balance and Cutting for Stone.

Profoundly moving and gracefully told, 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. Betrayed by her wealthy lover, Sunja finds unexpected salvation when a young tubercular minister offers to marry her and bring her to Japan to start a new life.

So begins a sweeping saga of exceptional people in exile from a homeland they never knew and caught in the indifferent arc of history. In Japan, Sunja's family members endure harsh discrimination, catastrophes, and poverty, yet they also encounter great joy as they pursue their passions and rise to meet the challenges this new home presents. Through desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs, they are bound together by deep roots as their family faces enduring questions of faith, family, and identity.

©2017 Min Jin Lee (P)2017 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"If proof were needed that one family's story can be the story of the whole world, then Pachinko offers that proof. Min Jin Lee's novel is gripping from start to finish, crossing cultures and generations with breathtaking power. Pachinko is a stunning achievement, full of heart, full of grace, full of truth." (Erica Wagner, author of Ariel's Gift and Seizure)
"Both for those who love Korea, as well as for those who know no more than Hyundai, Samsung, and kimchi, this extraordinary book will prove a revelation of joy and heartbreak. I could not stop turning the pages, and wished this most poignant of sagas would never end. Min Jin Lee displays a tenderness and wisdom ideally matched to an unforgettable tale that she relates just perfectly." (Simon Winchester, New York Times best-selling author of The Professor and the Madman and Korea: A Walk through the Land of Miracles)
"A deep, broad, addictive history of a Korean family in Japan enduring and prospering through the 20th century." ( The Guardian)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

nice story narration was off putting

the story was great but the narrator sounds child like. it takes a few hours to get used to her voice, inflection, and tonality. sometimes it seemed like she was reading a childrens book.

25 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

wonderful book

loved the story but wish Audible could have found a Korean American or anybody who could pronounce Korean words correctly.
it was disappointing to hear some Korean words pronounced incorrectly.

29 of 35 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Laura
  • San Franciso, CA, United States
  • 03-23-17

Historically interesting, but...

Narrator had sweet voice but not suited to story. Into the book, some profanity and descriptions of sexual encounters were either not credible or seemed that way because of the narration.

20 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing story!

Beautiful book in every way! I learned so much about Korean and Japanese culture. Characters breathed and the story floated, never stalling, always authentic. The author has amazing talent.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding.

Outstanding. One of my favorite works of fiction I’ve been through in a long time.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Too Much Telling

Not only is there too much telling in this novel, it is too long. Much of the dialogue is stilted and some of the sex scenes seem gratuitous. Still, some of the characters are compelling.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Total lack of character development...

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

This book needed character development. The story could have been so wonderful with three dimensional people.

Has Pachinko turned you off from other books in this genre?

Too many recent novels have had a lack of character development. This is just another on the list..

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narrator spoke like a careful child.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

An Addictive Tale of a Family set in Korea and Japan

A heartbreaking tale about a family and people who color their lives in the turbulent times of history in one of the most fascinating corners of the world, Korea and Japan. The author tackles the complicated relationship between the Japanese and the Koreans, bringing to life sights, sounds, smells, thoughts, feelings, and attitudes of a network of characters, each with their own fascinating history. Ms. Lee paints humanity at their best and at their worst.,There are no black and white villains or angels. Almost Everyone is both good and bad with the exception of a couple of angelic characters, Isaac and Kyunghee. There’s warmth and enough humor to help you not to die of heartbreak reading this wonderful family saga. Highly recommended.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Narrator fine, book excellent!

This is a gorgeous novel with rich characters and sweeping family drama. If you are a fan of multigenerational sagas, this will be a new favorite. The narrator is good, but nothing mind blowing. Overall I'd highly recommend.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Astonishing beauty and equal heartbreak

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Profound story.

What other book might you compare Pachinko to and why?

Dostoyevskyan.

Which character – as performed by Allison Hiroto – was your favorite?

I will never forget Koh Hansu. What a mofo; what a damaged person; yet showed glimmers of hopefulness.

If you could take any character from Pachinko out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Hansu.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful