This is one of those books that I enjoyed fairly well, but don’t have many good things to say about. It’s the story of three generations of a Korean family living in Japan, beginning in 1932 (after a first chapter set in 1910) and ending in 1989. It’s interesting from a historical perspective (I was ignorant of Korean immigrants in Japan and how badly they were treated), and Lee is a good storyteller; the book kept me curious about what would happen next, generally without over-inflated drama and without veering too far into sentimentality (though at times the opposite occurs, and events like major character deaths aren’t really followed up on nor is their aftermath developed in the text).
However, I found myself much more engaged while reading it than driven to return after a break. While the characters don’t fall into simple stereotypes, they are not particularly deep or complex, and I felt little emotional attachment to any of them; likewise, the writing style is adequate but quite simple. Ultimately, it was perfectly enjoyable entertainment, but didn’t inspire much thought or feeling in me despite its rather chunky size.