Pachinko

Minjin Lee

"Isak sighed, then smiled at the widow. This was his burden, not hers, and he did not want her to feel bad. He looked about for his suitcase. It was near the door."

Book 1, Ch. 2

 

"Isak knew how to talk with people, to ask questions, and to hear the concerns in a person’s voice; she seemed to understand how to survive, and this was something he did not always know how to do. He needed her; a man needed a wife."

 

Book 1, Ch. 13

 

"He would make love to her and wish for his death, because his life would have been perfect at that moment."

 

Book 2, Ch. 9

 

"Waseda was pure joy to him. He read as much as he could without straining his eyes, and there was time to read and write and think. His professors at Waseda cared deeply about the subjects they taught, and Noa could not understand how anyone could ever complain."

 

Book 2, Ch. 15

 

""Noa," Sunja said, “forgive me. Umma is sorry. I just wanted you to go to school. I know how much you wanted that. I know how hard you—”

“You. You took my life away. I am no longer myself,” he said, pointing his finger at her. He turned around and walked back to the train."

 

Book 2, Ch. 19

 

"He didn’t want to go on anymore without Yumi, but this was something he could not say. She was his lover, but more than anything, she was his wise friend. He could never replace her. And he felt he had done her a great injustice by not having told her this."

 

Book 3, Ch. 3

 

"Neither had realized the loneliness each had lived with for such a long time until the loneliness was interrupted by genuine affection."

 

Book 3, Ch. 5

 

“Being a mother was what defined her more than any other thing—more than being a daughter, wife, divorced woman, girlfriend, or restaurant owner. She hadn’t done it well, but it was who she was, and it was what had changed her inside forever.”

 

Book 3, Ch. 10

 

“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.”

 

Book 3, Ch. 10

 

© Kyuwon Lee, 2020.