Historical Fiction


by Min Jin Lee

Quick take

A novel with its own legend, a big novel to lose yourself in or to find yourself anew'”a saga of Koreans living in Japan, rejected by the country they call home.

Why I love it

Reading Pachinko was, in many ways, personal to me, at first. My own family is from one of these small fishing islands off the coast of Korea, and this novel’s beginning was like getting to spy on my grandparents’ early lives. It introduced me to their struggles in ways they would never have'”and yet, let me be clear, this novel does much more than to break an intergenerational silence. It also ma...


"There could only be a few winners, and a lot of losers. And yet we played on, because we had hope that we might be the lucky ones."

In the early 1900s, teenaged Sunja, the adored daughter of a crippled fisherman, falls for a wealthy stranger at the seashore near her home in Korea. He promises her the world, but when she discovers she is pregnant—and that her lover is married—she re...

Member thoughts

73% Love
22% Like
3% Dislike
  • Megan E.

    Horace, ND

    "Heartbreaking, mesmerizing and I found myself completely immersed in the lives of this family and their story."

  • Liza h.

    New York, NY

    "This book will go down as one of my all time favorites. I loved learning the history and cultures of the Koreans living in Japan spanning multiple generations."

  • Nancy L.

    Mequon, WI

    "Interesting story about Koreans living in Japan. "

  • Christina C.

    Leominster , MA

    "Really great generational story! Interesting to learn about the prejudices that the Koreans face in Japan. At times heartbreaking but uplifting. Great Female characters "

  • Amy S.

    Jackson, MI

    "It's been a while since I've read a novel that spans generations. It was worth the wait. "

  • Karin N.

    Chicago, IL

    "This was so detailed and heartbreaking. I learned a lot about how Koreans are treated in Japan and being an immigrant outside of the American narrative."

  • Jacqueline L.

    Wantagh, NY

    "Wonderful inter-generational family saga. Learned so much about the history of Koreans in Japan. Loved the characters and the writing."

  • shana P.

    Oak Park , IL

    "I loved this book."

  • Janice M.

    Boonton, NJ

    "Really got into the characters' lives, the culture and the history of both Korea and Japan. Did not want the book to end."

  • lisa m.

    Fort Worth, TX

    "Loved learning about the cultures, prejudice and persistence of the characters. Watching the characters thorough history was both heartbreaking and enlightening. "

  • Alexys H.

    Pensacola, FL

    "Very well written, very highly recommended. I felt like I had a slightly better understanding of some of the cultural anachronisms, having lived in Korea for 18 months, but I don't believe that inexpe"