Book - 2017
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"Follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all. Deserted by her lover, Sunja is saved when a young tubercular minister offers to marry and bring her to Japan. So begins a sweeping saga of an exceptional family in exile from its homeland and caught in the indifferent arc of history. Through desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs, its members are bound together by deep roots as they face enduring questions of faith, family, and identity"--
Publisher: New York :, Grand Central Publishing,, [2017]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781455563937
Branch Call Number: FICTION LEE
Characteristics: 490 pages ; 24 cm


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Jul 19, 2019

Korean epic; I didn't finish it.

Jun 22, 2019

This is one of the worst books I have read this year. What a waste of my time! The story was OK nothing fantastic and the writing was terrible. The prose consisted of short sentences so that when reading it it didn't flow. The dialogue seemed like it was written by a 10 year old. How does a book like this get an award as one of the best fiction books of 2017?
I would have given up half way but only kept with it so that I could write a comment on it.

It seems to me that the books I enjoy the most are the books that haven't won any awards. Usually the books that I choose that have won awards are the most disappointing.

How does a person know which books are good? It is a dilemma for me because I am always looking for a good book to read.

Jun 09, 2019

"You want to see a very bad man? Make an ordinary man successful beyond his imagination. Let's see how good he is when he can do whatever he wants."
Sprawling and deeply felt family saga set in Korea and Japan. It covers several generations and so has a bit of the feel of a Victorian novel, although there's plenty of sex. Lee wrestles with issues of identity, home, and family in ways that are usually insightful and compelling. It runs a little long (close to 500 pages), but it is ambitious and covers a lot of ground.

Apr 28, 2019

The first copy of this book that I received from the library was sprinkled with what I think were plucked eyebrow hairs. Disgusting, but the book was seriously engaging, so I ignored them and read on. About halfway through, though, there was a booger. That was too much for me, so I returned that copy and had to wait in line again for another one. Now the new one has arrived and on the very first page there is something that looks suspiciously like another booger. Honestly, what is going on with you KCLS patrons? This is far from the first time I have come across human detritus in KCLS library books, including hairs from all parts of the body and food crumbs. You know that in all my years in reading library books in other parts of the country and abroad I have never run across any of this disgusting stuff? What is it, are you people just inured to it?

Apr 13, 2019

Arlene or Joanne rec'd

Apr 10, 2019

loved this book and everyone in my book club was very glad to have read it
great generational story, great insights
so much can be related to colonized peoples all over the world
as the author says - how to live when the people where you live wish you were dead

Apr 06, 2019

A wonderful saga of four generations of Korean and Japanese people and history. Well written, with a feeling of acceptance of each life as it unfolds that echoes some eastern philosophies. Great characters and historic events from a new point of view - the point of view of Koreans who suffered under Japanese colonization pre and during WWII and then the Korean War which has never ended. Pachinko is a game played on a machine that is something like a pin ball machine standing up vertically. It is played with passion in Japan per the author and internet investigation. There is a limited betting component and Pachinko shops were one of few businesses open to Koreans living in Japan during the early and mid 1900s.

Mar 30, 2019


Chapel_Hill_MarthaW Feb 28, 2019

This almost reminded me of a Victorian novel, in the sense of its ambitious scope (the better part of the 20th century) and its focus on a wide cast of characters (four generations of the same family). The characters are the real joy of this book -- they are developed so thoughtfully and with such nuance that they feel like real people you know, though the leaps forward in time (often by several years) to different points in their lives can occasionally feel frustrating, since you feel like you're missing out on moments with people you've come to care for. The central theme of this novel is that life, like the titular game, is full of wins and losses -- more of the latter than the former, but you continue on hoping to be one of the lucky ones. This makes for a read that is occasionally depressing -- the fate of one character in particular was a bit of a gut punch -- but completely engrossing.

Feb 08, 2019

This was a wonderful story, told over generations. I highly recommend it.

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Aug 23, 2017

Sexual Content: explicit sexual content

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