Pachinko (Amazon | Book Depository)
Written by Min Jin Lee
Published by Apollo (2017)
ISBN: 1786691361 (ISBN13: 9781786691361). Literary Awards: National Book Award Finalist for Fiction (2017), Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Historical Fiction (2017), International DUBLIN Literary Award Nominee (2019), Reading Women Award for Fiction (2017), Litsy Award for Historical Fiction (2017). Review copy provided by Pansing. Book quote layouts done via Typorama.
Full disclosure. I don’t really watch that many Koreanovelas or K-dramas, except for Meteor Garden and Jewel in the Palace sometime in the early 2000s. That being said, I still feel that this epic saga has all the elements that would make it a spell-binding TV series (the only reference I could manage given our reading theme, hehe): there is family drama that cuts across varied timelines; historical accounts (Japan conquering Korea) that humanize unspeakable atrocities, enslavement of an entire race, and the corruption of absolute power; and clear-faceted perceptions of honour, goodness, and the triumph of the human spirit.
There is also the women’s issues very subtly alluded to: the long-suffering wives, the self-abnegating women, and the mothers who sacrifice and risk everything for their families’ survival and well-being.
The above quote also shows how this is a story for people who are between cultures, whose voices are largely ignored or silenced, and whose very existence is merely tolerated because they are useful or serve a purpose in the dominant culture. A totally unforgettable story, indeed.
#WomenReadWomen2019: South Korea