Review: The Pachinko Parlour – Elisa Shua Dusapin, translated by Aneesa Abbas Higgins

The Pachinko Parlour

Elisa Shua Dusapin

Translated by Aneesa Abbas Higgins


ISBN: 9781922585172


From the author of Winter in Sokcho, which won the 2021 National Book Award for Translated Literature.

The days are beginning to draw in. The sky is dark by seven in the evening. I lie on the floor and gaze out of the window. Women’s calves, men’s shoes, heels trodden down by the weight of bodies borne for too long.

It is summer in Tokyo. Claire finds herself dividing her time between tutoring twelve-year-old Mieko in an apartment in an abandoned hotel and lying on the floor at her grandparents: daydreaming, playing Tetris, and listening to the sounds from the street above. The heat rises; the days slip by.

The plan is for Claire to visit Korea with her grandparents. They fled the civil war there over fifty years ago, along with thousands of others, and haven’t been back since. When they first arrived in Japan, they opened Shiny, a pachinko parlour. Shiny is still open, drawing people in with its bright, flashing lights and promises of good fortune. And as Mieko and Claire gradually bond, their tender relationship growing, Mieko’s determination to visit the pachinko parlour builds.

The Pachinko Parlour is a nuanced and beguiling exploration of identity and otherness, unspoken histories, and the loneliness you can feel within a family. Crisp and enigmatic, Shua Dusapin’s writing glows with intelligence.

My View:

Another beautifully written book which has been excellently translated, a joy to read.

Shua Dusapin writes with intelligence and with a deep understanding of what it is to be human. Her writing evocatively reflects on aging, culture, belonging … The writing has a sense of innocence that is peaceful yet confident; vignettes of the ordinary that are so revealing.

Post Script: Remember Me This Way – Sabine Durrant

Suspense, suspense, suspense.

Remember Me This Way

Remember Me This Way

Sabine Durrant

Mulholland Books

Hodder & Stoughton

Hachette UK

ISBN 9781444762457



The new, brilliantly tense psychological thriller by Sabine Durrant, author of the hugely praised UNDER YOUR SKIN.


Everyone keeps telling me I have to move on. And so here I am, walking down the road where he died, trying to remember him the right way.


A year after her husband Zach’s death, Lizzie goes to lay flowers where his fatal accident took place.


As she makes her way along the motorway, she thinks about their life together. She wonders whether she has changed since Zach died. She wonders if she will ever feel whole again.


At last she reaches the spot. And there, tied to a tree, is a bunch of lilies. The flowers are addressed to her husband. Someone has been there before her.


Lizzie loved Zach. She really did.


But she’s starting to realise she didn’t really know him.


Or what he was capable of . . .



My View:

This is the second Sabine Durrant novel I have read – the first being Under Your Skin – Ms Durrant certainly knows how to write a gripping psychological thriller! I am already bookmarking this to go in my “best of crime fiction reads” list for 2015. The writing is brilliant, evocative; the constant sense of foreboding, of violence, of something evil lurking in the periphery weighs heavy on your shoulders as you read.


This is a very clever plot – twisted and constantly surprising revealing yet more “truths” as lies, soon you do not know what or who to believe but you do know to fear…for me the spectre of violence is more powerful than in-depth descriptive acts of violence and the threat rings loud and clear in this read, it is brilliant.