Author of Korean-Japanese saga coming to South Main Books

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 4, 2018

“Pachinko,” by Min Jin Lee. Grand Central Publishing. 496 pages. 

By Wendy Beeker

South Main Books

Meeting authors and going to book conferences are two of the nice perks that come along with owning an independent bookstore. In September of 2016, I had the pleasure of listening to Min Jin Lee present her book, “Pachinko,” (not yet in print) at a luncheon for 200-plus booksellers and publishers.

She was smart, confident, funny and endearing. I couldn’t wait to start it. I read the first line, “History has failed us, but no matter.” I knew I was in for something special.

Lee will be at South Main Book Co., 110 S. Main St., on Tuesday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Pachinko is a four-generation saga that begins in early-1900s Korea with shy, earnest Sunja. A man, married and the head of a black-market business, seduces her. To the shame of the family, Sunja is pregnant and unwed.

There is a beautiful scene of the man picking mushrooms in the forest with Sunja. As I read, I could hear the dried leaves crunching underfoot and smell the raw-dirt earthiness of the mushrooms.

Their relationship is part of the central plot and it follows them to Japan.

War, poverty and racism make up a lot of Sunja’s life, but there is also love and tenderness. Her family’s strength, endurance and faith keep them going in the worst of times.

It took Min Jin Lee 10 years to write this book, and her in-depth research into the history is evident.

She has been all over the world promoting “Pachinko,” and I feel so lucky to have her coming to my book shop. I love this book, was transported by it and I think you will be as well.

Wendy Beeker is owner of South Main Book Co.

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