Pachinko is an incredible historical fiction novel that was written in 2017 by Min Jin Lee. Pachinko is about 4 generations of a Korean family.
Pachinko starts off in Korea, and it follows a family who owns a local inn. However, due to certain circumstances, the family has to move to Japan, where they begin to live a completely different lifestyle. Although Pachinko is a fictional book, it does a really good job of covering important events that happen during the time period. This includes the Japanese occupation of Korea, as well as how people’s lives in Japan were impacted by the war.
Another thing Pachinko excels at is portraying the relationship between Koreans and Japanese people, especially Korean people lived in Japan. It was not something that I was very familiar with before reading Pachinko, but I now have a better sense of the tenuous relationship between the two. Although I always consider Japan and most parts of Asia to be ideal countries, it is clear that even they have their own issues.
While the historical aspect of Pachinko was great, it was really the deep storyline that makes the book so appealing. Throughout the book you will become attached to the characters and learn every little detail about their lives. Also, Min Jin Lee does a great job of introducing new characters and making it easy to see the role that they all play in Pachinko. Pachinko is a bit of a long book (about 500 pages or so), but it is written in a really easy to digest manner, and it will probably feel much shorter reading it than it actually is. Also, each part of Pachinko builds nicely upon each other, and makes it so that you are always looking forward to learning more. I am really glad I heard about Pachinko and it is one of the best books I have read recently!
Pachinko Recommendation Rating: 4.5
This post has now been updated to reflect a new ratings system that I have implemented, which is scored as follows:
1: Something worth checking out if you have time
2: Something that is a hit for some people, but not a must for everyone
3: Something worth prioritizing if interested
4: Something worth making time to check out
5: An absolute home run, worth going out of your way for