On the Same Page: Pachinko

May - June 2019
book coverPachinko
Min Jin Lee

A saga about four generations of a Korean immigrant family. Sunja, born in a small fishing village, falls in love with an organized crime boss and becomes pregnant. A local pastor offers an escape to Japan, and so she begins a new life in a new country.

This engrossing book chronicles one family’s place in history and captures a multi-generational struggle to survive, to belong and to thrive. The characters deal with poverty, immigration, a hostile nation, and confront these issues in various ways. Will they fulfill the worst stereotypes about them? Will they work hard to be perfect immigrants? The various twists, turns, and jumps-in-time keep Pachinko humming at a quick pace.

Praise for Pachinko

Min Jin Lee
Author Min Jin Lee
"Beautiful…Lee’s sweeping four-generation saga of a Korean family is an extraordinary epic." – San Francisco Chronicle

Read This! An interview with the author

When do you read, where do you read, how do you read?
I read everywhere—at home, at the office, on the train, and on planes. I read in short and long intervals. I read full chapters. It is difficult for me to stop in the middle of anything.

Was there a book that inspired you to write?
Some authors inspired me to write clean prose and others, very strong plot or powerful visions—Annie Dillard, Joan Didion, John Updike, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Sherwood Anderson, Honore de Balzac, Tolstoy, and of course, my favorite, George Eliot.

When was the first time you felt a book connected to your experience as a Korean American?
The first book I ever read by a Korean American was Clay Walls by Ronyoung Kim. She published only one novel and died very soon afterward, and her novel moved me deeply.

Do you have a connection or favorite memory of the public library?
I immigrated to the United States when I was seven years old, and my first real home was the Elmhurst Public Library, a branch of the Queens Public Library system. I did not know the English language when I arrived in New York from Seoul, and I learned how to read and write at the Elmhurst Public Library. Moreover, I discovered my abiding love of stories in my local library.

For more, visit Read This! Writers' Edition

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