I loved this sprawling saga about a Korean family living in Japan. If you are looking for an engrossing read, this is it.
Living a simple life in a Korean seaside village in the early 1900s, teenaged Sunja falls for wealthy stranger, who unbeknownst to her is married. (This is not a big surprise to the reader!) When Sunja realizes she is pregnant, the father offers to support her and his child, but Sunja refuses to be bought.
Instead, several months pregnant, she marries a frail preacher passing through her community on his way to meet his family in Japan.
And there it all begins. A great epic tale, a compelling view of the immigrant experience, and an illuminating depiction of Korean/Japanese relations (lousy).
If you read the paperback version, be sure to take a look at the end notes–A Conversation with Min Jin Lee and Lee’s Introduction to the 10th Anniversary of Free Food for Millionaires. Fascinating!
What Other Reviewers Say
National Book Review: “Lee is a master plotter, but the larger issues of class, religion, outsider history and culture she addresses in Pachinko make this A TOUR DE FORCE you’ll think about long after you finish reading.”
Who Wrote It
Min Jin Lee’s debut novel, Free Food for Millionaires, was one of the “Top 10 Novels of the Year” for The Times (London), NPR’s Fresh Air, and USA Today. Her writings have appeared in The Times Literary Supplement, Conde Nast Traveler, The Times (London), Vogue, Travel+Leisure, Wall Street Journal, New York Times Magazine and Food & Wine. She served as a columnist for the Chosun Ilbo, the leading paper of South Korea. She lives in New York with her family.