Min Jin Lee biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Min Jin Lee
Photo: Elena Seibert

Min Jin Lee

Min Jin Lee Biography

Min Jin Lee's Pachinko (Feb 2017) was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction, a New York Times 10 Best Books of 2017, a USA Today Top 10 Books of 2017, and an American Booksellers Association's Indie Next Great Reads.

Her debut novel, Free Food for Millionaires, was one of the "Top 10 Novels of the Year" for The Times (London), NPR's Fresh Air, and USA Today. Her short fiction has been featured on NPR's Selected Shorts. Her writings have appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, The Times (London), Vogue, Travel+Leisure, Wall Street Journal, New York Times Magazine, and Food & Wine. Her essays and literary criticism have been anthologized widely. She served as a columnist for the Chosun Ilbo, the leading paper of South Korea. She lives in New York with her family.

Min Jin Lee's website

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Interview

Min Jin Lee discussed Pachinko, her epic family saga of a Korean-Japanese family

What initially inspired you to write this novel? Why did you choose to focus on Korea and Japan during a time of war?
I learned about the Korean-Japanese people nearly thirty years ago when I was in college. I didn't know anything about this community, which had its origins during the Japanese colonial occupation of Korea from 1910 to1945. As a history major and as an immigrant, I was curious about the Korean diaspora, resulting from the invasions and destabilization of the once-unified nation. However, what really moved me to write this novel and to rewrite it so many times were the compelling stories of individuals who struggled to face historical catastrophes. Although the history of kings and rulers is unequivocally fascinating, I think that we are also hungry for the narrative history of ordinary people, who lack connections and material resources. The modern Korean is informed by the legacy of the Japanese occupation, World War II, the Cold War, and the Korean War as well as Confucianism, Buddhism, Communism, and Christianity. All these topics are reflected in this book, because they interest me, but I wanted to explore and better understand how common people live through these events and issues. These wars and ideas...

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Books by this Author

Books by Min Jin Lee at BookBrowse
Pachinko jacket Free Food for Millionaires jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Min Jin Lee but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Jade Chang

    Jade Chang

    Jade Chang has covered arts and culture as a journalist and editor. She is the recipient of a Sundance Fellowship for Arts Journalism, the AIGA/Winterhouse Award for Design Criticism, and the James D. Houston Memorial ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Pachinko

    Try:
    The Wangs vs. the World
    by Jade Chang

  • Catherine Chung

    Catherine Chung

    Catherine Chung was born in Evanston, IL during a furious blizzard that dropped over 20 inches of snow on the ground and wreaked havoc all over Chicago. Writing has been her life-long passion, but as an undergraduate she ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Pachinko

    Try:
    The Tenth Muse
    by Catherine Chung

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