Saturday, January 6, 2018

the last book I ever read (Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, excerpt five)

from National Book Award Finalist Pachinko by Min Jin Lee:

Tamaguchi, a fifty-eight-year-old sweet-potato farmer, did not mind having the extra pairs of hands. His regular workers and seasonal ones had been conscripted years ago, and there were no able-bodied men to replace them. Several of his former workers had already died in Manchuria, with two badly disabled in battle, and there had been scant news of the other sent to Singapore and the Phillipines. Each morning, as Tamaguchi rose from his futon, he suffered from the routine aches that accompanied aging; however, he was relieved to be old, since he would not have to fight the stupid war. The shortage of men impaired his ambitions for his farm, especially at a time when there was a growing demand for potatoes. Tamaguchi could command any illegal price he wanted, it seemed, and now that he had tasted wealth, so much so that he’d been forced to hide troves of treasure in various parts of the farm, he was willing to do whatever it took to squeeze every golden drop from this national calamity.

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