When I finished reading Pachinko and couldn’t recover from my book hangover, I knew Min Jin Lee’s debut novel was the answer to my literary woes. Free Food for Millionaires, released ten years before the hugely successful Pachinko, tells the story of first-generation Korean-American Casey Han and the wide cast of characters who inhabit her world. She has just graduated from Princeton with expensive tastes in clothing (and the credit card debt to match) and no clear direction in life. We watch, sometimes cringing and holding our breath, as Casey navigates jobs, cultures, careers, parental pressure, friendships, mentors, and lovers in New York City in the 1990s. While different in scope and tone to Pachinko, Free Food for Millionaires is a sweeping, highly satisfying, and nuanced intergenerational tale about the messiness of finding your way and following your dreams.

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