Dec. 26 – Min Jin Lee – Pachinko [Christmas Calendar]

The Englewood Review of Books
Best Books of 2017
Advent / Christmas Calendar
December 26

 

[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”250″ identifier=”1455563927″ locale=”US” src=”https://englewoodreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/51mO4n4aZ7L.jpg” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”164″]Pachinko:
A Novel

 

Min Jin Lee

 
Hardback: Grand Central Publishing, 2017
Buy Now:  [ [easyazon_link identifier=”1455563927″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Amazon[/easyazon_link] ] [ [easyazon_link identifier=”B01GZY28JA” locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Kindle[/easyazon_link] ]
 
 

Lee is at her best describing complex behaviors and emotions with unadorned, down-to-earth language. “Isak knew how to talk with people, to ask questions, and to hear the concerns in a person’s voice; and she seemed to understand how to survive, and this was something he did not always know how to do.” There are horrors in Pachinko— a lengthy prison term is marked by gruesome torture — but the core message remains ultimately one of survival and hope.

“Pachinko was a foolish game,” Lee writes, “but life was not.” The reader could be forgiven for thinking that the reverse might also be true. This is honest writing, fiction that looks squarely at what is, both terrible and wonderful and occasionally as bracing as a jar of Sunja’s best kimchi.

 

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