Pachinko has nothing at all to do with Halloween, but my copy is due back today, and it’s an instant favorite, so here we are. This is the kind of book that makes me feel bad for people who don’t really love to read, because I know that to them, “500 page multigenerational Korean family saga spanning the entire 20th century” sounds like something you’d get CliffsNotes for in high school, but YOU GUYS. This is unputdownable.
We all have Halloween stuff to do today, so I’m not going to list all 52 million things I loved about this book, but here’s a top three. One, I learned so much about a culture that I really knew nothing about; it was completely foreign and also totally relevant, especially regarding racial issues. Two, Mozasu, world’s greatest character with the world’s greatest dialogue and character arc. Three, I read this book when I was on my own with the kids for two weeks while Rich was away, and this passage came at just the right time:
Etsuko had to go back to the restaurant, but she settled on the sofa for a few minutes. When she had been a young mother there used to be only one time in her waking hours when she’d felt a kind of peace, and that was always after her children went to bed for the night. She longed to see her sons as they were back then: their legs chubby and white, their mushroom haircuts misshapen because they could never sit still at the barber. She wished she could take back the times she had scolded her children just because she was tired. There were so many errors. If life allowed revisions, she would let them stay in their bath a little longer, read them one more story before bed, and fix them another plate of shrimp.
Thank you for that, Etsuko.