Due to weather events Elma Turner Library Pop-Up and Stoke Library are closing at 4:30pm Wednesday 17 August.

24 Aug 2017

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Pachinko is one of those books you just fall into and forget that the outside world exists.

9781455563937 92885

The story begins in the early 1900s with the marriage of a South Korean couple, and follows the next four generations of family to end in Tokyo during 1989. As you can imagine, there is a lot going on here as Pachinko touches s upon what it was like for Koreans during the war who were separated from their family and taken from their homes. This was a side of history that I knew little about, and it is heartbreaking to see the family struggle to keep their culture alive in a climate which was very anti-Korean. In following the years the author follows the growth of the family and their society which becomes more progressive and Westernised after the war. The females who once stayed at home are forced to find work to support their families, and their younger children begin to ignore their Korean heritage in order to fit in with their Japanese classmates. The author manages to build each character and fully invest you in their lives, before switching to the next family member and their story. For some this can be a jumpy or awkward transition, but Lee manages to seamlessly transition between the characters without taking you out of the story. What makes you so invested in their lives are the inclusion of human moments everyone can relate to such as the joy of watching your favourite television show or sharing a secret with a sibling. It seems funny to relate so much to a story about a South Korean family in Japan, but Pachinko managed to make you feel like part of the family. History and setting aside, this is ultimately a story about a family which is something we can all relate to.