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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

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • 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.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Outstanding.

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

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 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Eee-magined, and Deus ex machina

Please tell Ms. Hiroto how to pronounce imagine. The word is used an inordinate amount in this book, made painfully noticeable by her mispronunciation.

It’s an interesting story but disturbing that the characters get out of trouble at every turn by a convenient plot contrivance. It’s what my 11th grade English teacher warned was a mark of a poor writer.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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.

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  • Story

Jackpot!

Min Jin Lee's Pachinko is a beautifully written historical novel of love, faith and perseverance displayed in unforgettable Korean characters trying to find their place in Japan. The story is somewhat reminiscent of Oswald Wynd's novel The Ginger Tree. Min Jin Lee's voice resonates across cultures to capture the agony of any immigrant trying to succeed and fit in another country. There are enough twists and unexpected conflicts to satisfy readers' taste for excitement. The characters display bravery and resilience in their every day lives and serve as an inspiration to readers. This is one of the most uplifting books I have read in years. I loved the narrator's voice and interpretation of the novel.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Disappointing

Enjoyed the beginning but characters and story disjointed and not well developed. as it went on sex and foul language substituted for good storytelling and character development.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful