The daughter of Korean immigrants, Casey Han has refined diction, a closeted passion for reading the Bible, a popular white boyfriend, and a magna cum laude degree in economics from Princeton, but no job and an addiction to the things she cannot afford in the glittering world of Manhattan. In this critically-acclaimed debut, Min Jin Lee tells not only Casey’s story, but also those of her sheltered mother, scarred father, and friends both Korean and Caucasian, exposing the astonishing layers of a community clinging to its old ways and a city packed with struggling haves and have-nots.
Min Jin Lee is a talented author. Her writing style is beautiful and her character development couldn’t be better.
I enjoyed the first part of this novel immensely. Casey Han, daughter of Korean immigrants, navigates her way through life’s many challenges. Some challenges are those of adulthood, others are related to her parents’ expectations, her heritage and morals. Casey is an interesting character. I enjoyed the cultural references and learning further about Korean society. There is mention of characters’ lives prior to immigrating, which I would have loved to read more about.
As the novel progressed I lost patience with the narrative. I felt that the novel was too long and by the time I reached the end I was annoyed at the characters, their affairs and the focus on their sex lives. What drew me to the novel in the first place related to Korean culture. The ending was disappointing for me and did not leave me feeling much at all.
I loved Pachinko and wanted to love this novel. I hope to read another of Min Jin Lee’s novels, as her way of writing is unlike any other author.