When a mysterious stranger appears at the seashore near her home in Korea, Sunja, the adored daughter of a crippled fisherman, falls for him. He promises her the world — without ever revealing his name — but when she discovers that he is married, she refuses to be bought. Instead, she accepts the minister’s offer of marriage on the understanding that if he finds it acceptable, she will ask his wife for forgiveness.
In Pachinko, Min Jin Lee’s beloved debut novel, a girl born in Korea in the early 1900s witnessed her people’s cruel history when she fell in love with a wealthy stranger at the seashore. But when she discovers that she is pregnant and her lover is married, she refuses to be bought. Instead, she accepts an offer of marriage from a fellow Korean minister passing through on his way to Japan.
This is a story of blood, beauty, and love, linking two generations in a way that transcends time and place. The ocean is the setting for many Korean legends; here, Min Jin Lee captures all the wonder, mystery, and melancholy of an encounter with the forces of nature at their most potent—and at their most cruel.
It’s 18 months after World War II has ended, and Min Jin Lee follows the story of one woman, born poor, who goes up the social ladder to become a modern Korean woman. Pachinko is based on a true story: it comes from Lee’s family’s journey through Korea during this turbulent time — with unforgettable characters and a richly textured undercurrent of history.
About Pachinko Book
In the early 1900s, teenaged Sunja, the adored daughter of a crippled fisherman, falls for a wealthy stranger at the seashore near her home in Korea. He promises her the world, but when she discovers she is pregnant — and that her lover is married — she refuses to be bought. Instead, she accepts an offer of marriage from a gentle, sickly minister passing through on his way to Japan. But her decision to abandon her home, and to reject her son’s powerful father, sets off a dramatic saga that will echo down through the generations.
Richly told and profoundly moving, Pachinko is a story of love, sacrifice, ambition, and loyalty. From bustling street markets to the halls of Japan’s finest universities to the pachinko parlors of the criminal underworld, Lee’s complex and passionate characters — strong, stubborn women, devoted sisters and sons, fathers shaken by moral crisis — survive and thrive against the indifferent arc of history.