01 March 2017

Pachinko ~ Min Jin Lee

** OK **

Like Pachinko machine, a little mechanical.
Like a Pachinko ball, the narrative fell through the gaps

Many of the characters are involved in the Pachinko business and there was mention of adjusting the pins to regulate winnings.  As a reader, I felt a little like this - my involvement in the characters was manipulated.  I felt like a Pachino ball guided around a track but ultimately a random path.  And I wasn't a winner.

I did enjoy the historical and cultural background of the narrative.  While it wasn't unknown history to me, it was well presented in the events of the story. The overt racism against the Koreans in Japan is head shaking!  The bigotry and prejudice is clearly evident.  It is hard to say that it is a good light read (and it is!) but it is also a dark and depressing read.

There was plenty of colour but it started to fade in the second part of the book.  A good edit would have worked wonders (eg a section where they are watching a tv program; a gloss over many years to leap to x years later; inclusion of characters or characterisations that seemed to just tick-a-contemporary-box; exposition rather than action). It would have been a 3 to 4 star read if it had kept its momentum or not become a muddled message mess.

Pachinko (パチンコ ?) is a type of mechanical game originating in Japan and is used as both a form of recreational arcade game and much more frequently as a gambling device.