The Garden of Evening Mists: Tan Twang Eng


Exquisite setting, multiple conflicts and multi-layered.  Yun Ling, imprisoned and tortured by the Japanese in their occupation of Malaya ends up falling for a Japanese man, full of mystery and intrigue.  Good narration, though you do see the disadvantage of people for whom English is not the first language.


Pachinko: Min Jin Lee


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.