In the spirit of Charles Dickens and Leo Tolstoy, Pachinko is a beautifully written story about the sweeping four-generation history and saga of a Korean family in Japan. In a story filled with forbidden love, triumph and failure, and the need to belong, author Min Jin Lee sheds light on a subject not normally explored by novelists—the plight of Korean immigrants in Japan. In rich, evocative language, Lee takes the reader on an emotional, amazing journey through the Japanese occupation of Korea, post World War II, the Korean War, and modern Korean society.
At the center of this moving story is the heroine Sunja, the family matriarch who will stop at nothing to ensure the survival of her family. She is the embodiment of the struggles that many Koreans faced during this period who found themselves exiled from their homeland and the yearning to return to it one day. The depth and empathy of her story, as well as other members of her family, is just as haunting as it is moving.
Pachinko is a literary triumph; a readable, passionate story that will resonate with readers long after they have finished it
With talk of summits on the Korean peninsula these days, one might be inclined to believe that peace could very well be at hand, or at the very least, some serious talk about reducing tensions in northeast Asia.
Kim Jong-un’s recent trip to China was definitely an unprecedented move, which could have far-reaching repercussions. My guess is that Kim needed to bring China onboard and seek some advice about what to do, and perhaps what not to do with the upcoming summit with Moon Jae-in and later with Donald Trump. Kim is proving to be a shrewd player on the international stage.
Bradley Martin, the man who wrote the book on North Korea with his Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader, was in Seoul recently at What the Book? Bookstore talking about his new book, Nuclear Blues.
His new book is a thriller set in North Korea that has everything from evangelists running around, nuclear missiles, a blues musician, Heck Davis, investigating the death of his best friend, to a surprise appearance by Kim Jong-un. It’s a non-stop geopolitical thriller that’s a lot of fun to read. While I was reading it, I was thinking to myself, “you know, this could happen. It certainly is plausible.”
With North Korea and Kim Jong-un in the news so much these days, this is a timely novel from Martin. I doubt Kim Jong-un will have this book on his nightstand for some late night reading…but who knows?