Welcome back to the Nerdette Book Club! It’s just like a regular book club, except we’ll never know if you watched the show instead of reading the book.
This month, we’re reading the National Book Award finalist Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. The sweeping novel follows four generations of a Korean family from the early 1900s to 1989 as they struggle for survival, acceptance and identity in Japan. The saga was recently adapted as a television series from Apple TV+.
Elise Hu, host-at-large for NPR and former Seoul bureau chief, and Angie Kim, author of Miracle Creek, both reread the book and binged the show in preparation for our chat. We talk about Koreans’ experience in Japan today, showrunner Soo Hugh’s approach to adapting the story for the screen, and the passages that have stuck with us years after reading the book for the first time.