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Pachinko  By  cover art

Pachinko

By: Min Jin Lee
Narrated by: Allison Hiroto
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Publisher's summary

Yeongdo, Korea - 1911. In a small fishing village on the banks of the East Sea, a club-footed, cleft-lipped man marries a 15-year-old girl. The couple have one child: their beloved daughter, Sunja. 

When Sunja falls pregnant by a married yakuza, the family face ruin. But then, Isak, a Christian minister, offers her a chance of salvation: a new life in Japan as his wife. Following a man she barely knows to a hostile country in which she has no friends and no home, and whose language she cannot speak, Sunja's salvation is just the beginning of her story.

©2017 Min Jin Lee (P)2017 Hachette Audio

What listeners say about Pachinko

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nice story

It gave me a glimpse into lives of koreans under japanese ruling era and after that. You feel like like you are there standing next to characters of the story.

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

interesting.

I liked the storyline and narration. however I feel like the narrator could have atleast tried to pronounce some of the Korean phrases better.

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

I don’t know what else to say

Holy shit. Just…..holy shit. I felt so sad for this family and all the hardships they went through. I know the Japanese were terrible towards the Koreans during that time, but I’ve never properly read or heard about it, so this was interesting but also incredibly sad and infuriating.

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

So dull

I’m sure it has historical accuracy and truth in spades. But it’s dull. And depressing.

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

Riveting read!

A beautiful portrayal of a rags to riches story of a Korean family across 4 generations; right though colonial Japanese rule, both the World Wars, to modern day Japanese-Korean relationship.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Incredible journey into Korean/Japanese history

This was my first historical fiction novel, coming from a sci-fi, horror and thriller background. So I can't really compare it to other historical fiction novels or Asian authors. Having said that, my wife has read countless historical fiction novels and she thoroughly enjoyed it. For me, it is an eye-opening take on the early colonisation of Korea by Japan and the hardships endured by the Korean people, both in Korea and Japan, spanning a few generations. The story reads like a bit like a fable (not sure if that's a good or bad thing), but overall, a very well-rounded story. There's obviously a lot of research that went into the novel, so there's a great deal to learn about the early 20th century history in Korea/Japan. Very enjoyable, with some sad bits in between. There are some negative reviews out there, but rather read/listen to the book before you judge.

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The tenuous threads of families

Min Jin Lee's Pachinko delves into the impact of the political on the personal, the implication of one into the other, and the impossibility of separating the two. The story required of me to leave judgment at the door, and to be persuaded by cultural convictions that are different from mine. I also found the patience to understand and to accept the deep flaws of some characters. If read as the story of a family over the years, then the temporal leaps and character-hopping will not be frustrating. The family lives through many historically significant moments, but the novels dwells on the intimate rather than spectacular. We get to witness the impact of war and strife on the individual lives; we have read in other records how Japan and Korea were affected on a larger scale by the wars, but the novel spells out what the minutes, hours and days of those times meant for families. It is a story of becoming, transitions and the tenuous threads that knit people into families. I enjoyed Allison Hiroto's performance and reading; her voice brought softness into this world of unrelenting challenges, and mediated my experience of it. Having read other reviews, I think readers' preferences and expectations determine the type of encounter one has with the novel. I found it utterly compelling.

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

A really lovely and insightful story

The story is beautiful, moving and insightful

Coving topics of racism, sacrifice, forgiveness and friendship it is well worth reading


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

Bring on the corn

Instead of stars some books should be rated in corn. This is one of those. I'd give it five bowls. Corn by the shovel full. Want to be miserable for 18 hours and 14 minutes? Then this is the book for you. A lightweight story that should have been one third the length. The metaphors used throughout are lamentable to say the least. Amazed that it was published in the first place. 18 hours and 14 minutes of your life you'll never get back.
Get a Murakami novel instead.

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

Captivating and Informative

loved how she weaves multigenerational stories in a way that makes sense and informative.

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