Elbie’s Quest: Manjul Bajaj

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‘Elbie’s Quest’ begins beautifully, and you fall in love with Elbie almost immediately.  The ‘big small tree’ who brews tea and puts wondrous things in it.  Then the quest begins and the book gets dark, and is no longer that lovable.  Two big areas where Bajaj scores: the writing – flowing and flawless, and imagination.

Pachinko: Min Jin Lee

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Pachinko is a beautifully written saga spanning five generations of a poor Korean family that moves to Japan.  Lee does a great job on many fronts.  The protagonists change as the story progresses, yet she does a remarkable job in keeping the characters distinctive.  She introduces the readers to Korean culture and the depressingly realistic picture of Koreans living in Japan.  Despite using an omniscent narration, she is able to let the readers  look into the characters’ heads.

A must read.