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Pachinko – A Family Epic

Bendigo Writers Festival

Event Date: 10 August 2019
Author / Presenters: Min Jin Lee, Sarah L’Estrange

Driving Min Jin Lee's generational migrant story about a Korean family is the heartbreaking truth behind the adage, home is where the heart is. Sarah Le Strange talks to the writer whose grand narrative, like Dickens and Tolstoy from earlier times, finds in the stories of individuals the enormous sweep of history.

Min Jin Lee's novel takes us through four generations and each character's search for identity and success. Yeongdo, Korea 1911. In a small fishing village on the banks of the East Sea, a club-footed, cleft-lipped man marries a fifteen-year-old girl. The couple have one child, their beloved daughter Sunja. When Sunja falls pregnant by a married yakuza, the family face ruin. But then Isak, a Christian minister, offers her a chance of salvation: a new life in Japan as his wife. Following a man she barely knows to a hostile country in which she has no friends, no home, and whose language she cannot speak, Sunja's salvation is just the beginning of her story. Through eight decades and four generations, Pachinko is an epic tale of family, identity, love, death and survival.


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