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Pachinko

Narrated by: Allison Hiroto
Length: 18 hrs and 14 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (163 ratings)

Non-member price: $37.98

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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 members say

Average Customer Ratings

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

A great multi-generational story

Fascinating insight into the history of Korean immigrants in Japan and a great family saga. It dragged on at the end just a little. Loved the narration.

4 people found this helpful

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I loved this.

One of the best books I have read in a long time. Such a beautiful family and what an interesting life they all lead. Great read.

1 person found this helpful

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Great story

If you are into family dynasty stories then this is the story for you. Provides an Interesting insight into the situation of Koreans in Japan.

1 person found this helpful

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An Insight into Koreans living in Japan

Pachinko is a lengthy chronicle of several generations of one Korean family from before the Second World War until the 1990s. The author has attempted a to cover a huge expanse of time in great detail which has made the book at times a bit repetitive and long-winded. However, for me it was an eye-opener as I knew next to nothing about Koreans living in Japan. Their life there was difficult and made more so by strict rules regarding what they could and could not do, for example, they could not become citizens. The author shows how all the restrictions forced them into the less reputable jobs such as pachinko worker and eventually owner.If you like sweeping family sagas and are interested in Japan and Korea, then you will really enjoy this book.

1 person found this helpful

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Started SO well!

This was a very long listen and covered SO so many characters. I think the book could have been halved as there were too many inconsequential characters. So much sadness and all for nothing. However I did complete the book just to see what would happen!

1 person found this helpful

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brilliant book

loved it, I couldn't stop listening, narration was great a very compelling story to listen to

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Griping, and educational

Great story, had me really praying for good luck for all the characters!! Really incredible how much detail was included in the plot. Loved this book recommend it highly!!

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  • deb
  • 04-02-2020

History of characters & Korea

Fascinating narrative and the story is of a part of history that I knew little about. The characters of this family are shown from generation to generation.
I will certainly be resting more by Min Jin Lee

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Engaging account of everyday life and culture.

I loved the vivid normality of the story. Every facet of daily life for the characters was picked out in such detail that the personalities and scenery jumped to life for me. Knowing a little of the cultures of pre- and post-war Japan and Korea, I think the book succeeded in illustrating the setting for a Western reader in a way that was very approachable. It was impossible not to sympathise with every character as a product of their environment. The 'everyday' nature of life as told in Pachinko was unexpectedly enthralling, and I'd recommend it to anyone.

The narrator is consistent and articulate, if not particularly entertaining.

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great multi generational story or koreans in japan

as a westerner I've had a small idea about the layered hostility between the Japanese and Korean which I kind of assumed went both ways. its hard to grapple that the beloved version of japan i have can be so xenophobic. this is an illuminating novel on how the situation came to be for the semi stateless generation of koreans born into a country which only tolerates their existence, whose parents came from a homeland which is now fractured in two. hard to get into initially but pays dividends by the end.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-11-2019

Captivating and Informative

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

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  • Andre
  • 01-09-2019

Hopeful and Despairing!

The novel reflects the resilience of the human spirit and of the role of family to sustain the individual person. I almost stopped reading after Noah's suicide but life goes on. We navigate life despite the evil and bigotry that surrounds us because there is also decency and compassion even if it is limited to our small circles.

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  • Tsundoko and Tea
  • 12-06-2019

Elaborate, beautifully written historical fiction

Despite being a story that takes place over many years and locations and with a large number of characters it was easy to listen and not be overwhelmed by this beauty. The sheer detail included in the writing is incredible, every character and location gets a detailed description of their appearance and personality, it is easy to feel like you are there or have seen the same places. I would never have picked this novel had it not been a chosen book of Emma Watson's book club, Our Shared Shelf, but I am so glad I decided to go with it. Heartwarming and heartbreaking in equal measure. I learned so much about Korea and Japan at that time that I would not have known about without it. It is sad that the treatment of 'foreigners' in this story echoes what is happening in many countries still now... poignant and relevant.

5 people found this helpful

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  • aiden selsick
  • 11-01-2020

2 dimensional characters, 1 dimensional narration

All the Korean characters are unfailingly honest, earnest, moral, innocent and hard-done-by. Even if we suppose that this corresponds to reality, it doesn't make for great fiction. It was boring. The pathos in the narrator's cadence didn't help.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ann G
  • 23-03-2019

Pachinko

Real epic novel - great piece of work! The generations covered in the story gave a really rich
authenticity to the struggles over time in this part of the world.
Found it hard to put down.
Stunning characters I felt I actually knew!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Deborah Cotterell
  • 29-11-2019

insightful

really enjoyed learning about Korean culture food and their relationship with Japan. thank you for the choice

1 person found this helpful

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  • Gary J Mitchell
  • 18-10-2019

Long but Compelling

I cared for the characters and learned a lot listening to this book. Well narrated.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Deirdre Lynam
  • 11-10-2019

epic family tale.

I initially enjoyed the slow unfolding of this story and the characters. the cultures and how the war impacted koreans and their standing in Japan.
However I felt it rushed too fast in the end, sweeping through the decades and dropping to peripheral characters I was interested in for most of the story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • KJ Malone
  • 15-09-2019

Brilliant. <br />

Thanks in every way to the author, narrator and inspiration for this compelling story. I enjoyed every minute.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-08-2019

A good touch of the recent history of various countries.

It is surprised for me to know that authors of different nationality would always praise the virtues of their own race. Even race and every family could be hard working and humble. So it’s never early or late, but right at the time for one to take the proper actions for good. Let’s pray.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Natasha
  • 15-03-2020

Beautiful

This is more like a work of art than a book. A beautiful story that paints the picture with such detail.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Chris N.
  • 25-02-2020

Great old-fashioned saga but with a modern feel as well.

Honestly written story. Unpretentious and engaging. Nicely read too. I now need six more words