[Book Review] Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

29983711Title: Pachinko
Author: Min Jin Lee
Genre: Fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction

Where I got the book: I purchased this book through Book Depository.

My rating: ★★★★★

Summary: Beginning in the early 1900s and spanning several decades, we follow one Korean family through multiple generations. Sunja, abandoned by her wealthy yakuza lover and unhappily pregnant with his child, is saved when a young Korean minister passing through on his way to Japan offers to marry her. He is a sickly man but gentle and understanding, and she decides to go with him to Osaka. Sunja’s decision is what sets off the saga of a family struggling to survive and prosper in a foreign land.

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[Book Review] The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen

18332844Title: The Unseen*
Author: Roy Jacobsen
Genre: Fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction

Where I got the book: I purchased this book at Norli.

My rating: ★★★★☆

Summary: In 1913, Ingrid Barrøy is born on Barrøy island off the coast of Helgeland, Norway. Her family is poor and subject to the forces of nature, but they’re hardworking and strong-willed. Island life is a constant struggle that pays very little, and when Ingrid comes of age she is sent to the mainland to work. But tragedy strikes, and Ingrid must again return to fight for her island and her home.

* I read this in its original language (Norwegian) under the title “De Usynlige”.

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[Book Review] The Explosion Chronicles by Yan Lianke

51emj1pgool-_sx323_bo1204203200_Title: The Explosion Chronicles
Author: Yan Lianke
Genre: Fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction, magical realism, mythorealism

Where I got the book: I purchased this book through Book Depository.

My rating: ★★☆☆☆

Summary: The village of Explosion was first founded by refugees fleeing a seismic volcanic eruption, hence the name “Explosion”. In the post-Mao era, it rapidly grows from a small rural community to a massive metropolis. Three of Explosion’s major families are behind this successful growth: the four Kong brothers, the daughter of the former village chief, and Cheng Quing, a former secretary turned politician and businesswoman. Through ambition, desire, and betrayal, these families transform their hometown into an urban superpower.

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[Book Review] Swallowing Mercury by Wioletta Greg

51oe4docmol-_sx317_bo1204203200_Title: Swallowing Mercury
Author: Wioletta Greg
Genre: Fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction

Where I got the book: I purchased this book through Book Depository.

My rating: ★★★★☆

Summary: Wiola lives in a close-knit agricultural community in Poland. She is a good Catholic girl who collects matchbox labels and has been brought up on fables and superstition. We follow her through ordinary days filled with extraordinary impressions, from childhood to adolescence.

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[Book Review] The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu

41x3q5g6x2l-_sx331_bo1204203200_Title: The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories
Author: Ken Liu
Genre: Fiction, short stories, science fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, historical fiction

Where I got the book: I purchased this book through Book Depository.

My rating: ★★★★★

Summary: A boy helps a hunted creature from Chinese folklore to adapt to a steampunk future. A mother expresses her love for her son by creating origami animals, which she magically brings to life. A couple offers people a chance to travel back in time to explore one of the hidden atrocities of the Second World War, but their invention has widespread consequences. This collection of fifteen short stories and novellas explores our technological advances and the individual’s assimilation into society.

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[Book Review] Silence by Shūsaku Endō

41yiu5tgxgl-_sx328_bo1204203200_Title: Silence
Author: Shūsaku Endō
Genre: Fiction, historical fiction, religion, classics

Where I got the book: I purchased this book through Book Depository.

My rating: ★★★★☆

Summary: In the 1640s, Father Rodrigues, a Portuguese Jesuit priest, sets sail for Japan. His mission is to help the oppressed Japanese Christians and to find out whether or not his mentor Ferreira has renounced his faith, as the rumors claim. Rodrigues soon experiences the harsh reality of religious persecution firsthand, and as his suffering increases he is forced to make an impossible choice: abandon his flock or abandon his God.

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[Book Review] Human Acts by Han Kang

41h05bsiz7l-_sx339_bo1204203200_Title: Human Acts
Author: Han Kang
Genre: Fiction, historical fiction

Where I got the book: I purchased this book through Bokkilden.

My rating: ★★★★★

Summary: In May 1980, a violent student uprising takes place in Gwangju, South Korea, and in the midst of it all, a young boy named Dong-ho is shockingly killed. The story of his murder, as well as the story of the uprising, is told through different viewpoints in a series of interconnected chapters. Through the voices of Dong-ho’s best friend, an editor facing censorship, a prisoner, a factory worker, and Dong-Ho’s own grieving mother, we learn about the reverberations of violence, the crushing reality of oppression, and the unrelenting hope that resides in humanity.

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