Korean American Books

Summaries and reviews of fiction and nonfiction books by Korean American authors,
books about Korean Americans and Korea, and Korean literature in English translation,
including some academic works and a sampling on the Korean War

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee

The accolades for this fine, epic novel are deserved. In her second novel, author Min Jin Lee follows members of a family (and many equally fascinating ancillary characters) from the Japanese Occupation era in Korea, to the Korean diaspora in Japan, up to 1989. She manages this expansive timespan through third-person omniscient voice, allowing a kind of economy in the storytelling that would otherwise be limited to structural concerns. It’s both a feat of intricate character development and a rapid-moving plot that makes one love the people, even the antagonist, and live through a hundred fast-moving stories that kept pulling at me long after all the pages were turned. Much is written about her inspiration and about the story itself, so I leave this post brief, with a final urging to read this stunning book.

1 comment:

Anne Sibley O'Brien said...

Just finished it, reading long into the night because I couldn't let go of the characters. The writing is gorgeous, with clear, precise details that ground the reader and create a palpable veracity. Such a compelling account of the many ways to be particularly Korean, yet universally, complicatedly human.