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Pachinko

Written by: Min Jin Lee
Narrated by: Allison Hiroto
Length: 18 hrs and 14 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (50 ratings)

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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
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

loved it !

Loved this book so much. something that you cannot put down.
The Narrator makes this book extra special

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Beautiful

The storyteller and author transport you to a time back in Korea and Japan. The slight music rendition adds to the subtlety. Enjoyed every bit.

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Could have been even better

Awesome beginning... kind of dragging towards the end... many unwanted characters and details... could have been better..

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Unforgettable

A moving, sprawling novel of human endurance in the face of suffering, human acceptance, and of the sheer exquisite beauty of love.What characters. what destinies, and how immediately familiar whoever you might be or wherever you might live. I would love to meet the author some day, just to feel the radiance of her compassionate heart.


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Beautiful narrative.

A beautiful story. I simply devoured the book.
felt so attached to the characters. surely to join the list of my best loved books.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Matt
  • 25-06-20

Bring on the corn

Instead of stars some books should be rated in corn. This is one of those. I'd give it five bowls. Corn by the shovel full. Want to be miserable for 18 hours and 14 minutes? Then this is the book for you. A lightweight story that should have been one third the length. The metaphors used throughout are lamentable to say the least. Amazed that it was published in the first place. 18 hours and 14 minutes of your life you'll never get back.
Get a Murakami novel instead.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-11-19

Captivating and Informative

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

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  • Ando
  • 01-09-19

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
  • 12-06-19

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.

6 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • aiden selsick
  • 11-01-20

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.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Ann G
  • 23-03-19

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
  • 29-11-19

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
  • 18-10-19

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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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Deirdre Lynam
  • 11-10-19

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
  • 15-09-19

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
  • 19-08-19

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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  • AK
  • 27-06-20

Could not put this down.

This is a wonderful story and beautifully written. The characters were captivating. thoroughly enjoyed this

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  • Malwina Tritt
  • 23-06-20

Fabulous

Omg, drop everything and listen to THIS! What a wonderful story! I was reluctant to buy it, because the description doesn't give it any justice, but bought it in the and as it was on sale at some stage and it was one of the few that slightly took my interest. Needless to say, I don't regret it and would've even bought it for the full price. You're going to laugh, you're going to cry, and you're going to gasp. But above all you'll be sorry it ended... At the beginning, I couldn't get over the narrator and right until the end I didn't warm up to her, but I think that taking the whole story into account she is a fitting one and other type of narration would simply not suit this story. I'm after recommending it to everybody since I was half way through it. You won't be disappointed!

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  • Kim Myers
  • 10-06-19

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.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Amanda G Scott
  • 01-06-19

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.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-05-19

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.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Beverley M.
  • 18-04-20

Excellent Book

I loved this story. Every chapter kept me interested. The History of Korea is well written.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 24-06-19

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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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 31-03-19

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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  • the Chandlers
  • 29-06-20

I loved this sweeping story

wonderful characters and a close up vote of a world we don't often hear about in the English language. I thoroughly enjoyed the depth of each character. No stereotypes. highly recommended

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  • Andrew Peter McGinn
  • 27-06-20

I love this book!

Beautiful characters building their lives as Koreans in Japan. Thoroughly enjoyed my time listening to this book. Faultless narration.

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  • Karen McCulloch
  • 17-05-20

beautifully written, an absolute joy

Min Jin Lee captures the difficulty of living in a foriegn country, living through poverty, hard work, and bigotry, to bring a beautiful story of Korean woman and their constant energy for life . Heartbreaking and wonderful, Panchinko is easy and pleasurable to read.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-05-20

Wonderful Saga

Like all the best stories, Pachinko came full circle from a girl's simple life, through a complex family saga and back to a sort of resolution in her old age. The characters are memorable and the cultural tensions thought provoking. Love is love, wherever it is found.