Lee, Min Jin.
This epic family saga about Korean immigrants living in Japan has special resonance in today's political climate, where rising xenophobia and troubled diplomatic relations with North Korea are hot-button issues. Beginning in the 1930s, Min Jin Lee chronicles the fortunes of Baek Isak and Sunja, a young couple brought together by misfortune, duty and obligation. They emigrate from a small Korean fishing village to Osaka, Japan, where their family grows and struggles under the yoke of colonial politics under Emperor Hirohito. Throughout the novel, the mechanical gambling game called pachinko serves as a fascinating metaphor for the combination of luck, skill and predetermination that guide us through our lives. Lee does a wonderful job of showing how historical events such as the bombing of Nagasaki and the outbreak of the Korean War affect the personal lives and relationships of her characters in ways both big and small.
Meghan Casey (Staff) (Queen's Square Library)