Author: Kyung-Sook Shin
Translator: Chi-Young Kim
|Important! Please read before you order!
|>>>This book is written in English.
About This Book
A million-plus-copy best seller in Korea--a magnificent English-language debut poised to become an international sensation--this is the stunning, deeply moving story of a family's search for their mother, who goes missing one afternoon amid the crowds of the Seoul Station subway.
Told through the piercing voices and urgent perspectives of a daughter, son, husband, and mother, Please Look After Mom is at once an authentic picture of contemporary life in Korea and a universal story of family love.
You will never think of your mother the same way again after you read this book.
About the Author
Kyung-sook Shin is the author of numerous works of fiction and is one of South Korea's most widely read and acclaimed novelists. She has been honored with the Manhae Literature Prize, the Dong-in Literature Prize, and the Yi Sang Literary Prize, as well as France's Prix de l'Inaperçu. Please Look After Mom is her first book to appear in English and will be published in nineteen countries. Currently a visiting scholar at Columbia University in New York City, she lives in Seoul.
This novel from widely acclaimed Korean author Shin focuses on motherhood and family guilt. Park So-nyo, mother of four now-adult children, has gone missing in a Seoul train station on the way to visit them. The novel is told in four parts, from the perspectives of, first, her daughter, and then, her firstborn son, her husband, and finally, So-nyo herself. Composed almost entirely in second-person narration, the writing is sharp, biting, and intensely moving. So-nyo's children continually battle with their own guilt for not taking better care of her while reminiscing about the times when they were young, growing up in incredible poverty in the countryside. The children come to terms with their mother's absence in their own ways, and their father repents for a lifetime of neglect. When So-nyo's voice enters the narrative, the portrait of a troubled but loving family is complete. Secrets are revealed, and the heart of a mother is beautifully exposed. This Korean million-plus-copy best-seller is an impressive exploration of family love, poverty, and triumphing over hardship. --Julie Hunt
"The universal resonance of family life lifts a novel rooted in the experience of Korean modernity to international success. A best-seller in her native South Korea, Shin's Please Look After Mom tells the story of Park So-nyo, a devoted, do-all wife and mother who mysteriously goes missing. . . . Primarily composed of four sections narrated by Park, her eldest son, her husband, and one of their two daughters, the book--Shin's first to be translated into English--is a moving portrayal of the surprising nature, sudden sacrifices, and secret reveries of motherhood. . . . As the novel progresses and Park's whereabouts remain unclear, much that can be forgotten between mothers and children, husbands and wives, and among siblings resurfaces in the voices of this family desperate to locate the one person who was and always will be the center of their lives."
--Lisa Shea, Elle
"Indelible . . . In four distinct voices, the character of Mom--a rural farmwoman whose ‘hands could nurture any life'--is reassembled by her eldest daughter, whose books Mom couldn't read; her eldest son, for whom she could never do enough; her husband, who never slowed down; and finally Mom herself as she wanders through memories both strange and familiar. Shin's breathtaking novel is an acute reminder of how easily a family can fracture, how little we truly know one another, and how desperate need can sometimes overshadow even the deepest love. VERDICT: Already a prominent writer in Korea, Shin finally makes her English-language debut with what will appeal to all readers who appreciate compelling, page-turning prose. Stay tuned: Mom should be one of this year's most-deserving bestsellers."
--Terry Hong, Library Journal
"A mother's disappearance exposes family consciences, secrets and dependencies . . . An enormous publishing success in South Korea, this simple portrait of a family shocked into acknowledging the strength and heroic self-sacrifice of the woman at its center is both universal and socially specific. . . . The narration by four different family members exposes guilt and insights all around, from unmarried daughter Chi-hon, a novelist, to [the mother] herself. Partly a metaphor for Korea's social shift from rural to urban, partly an elegy to the intensity of family bonds as constructed and maintained by self-denying women, this is tender writing."
"Affecting . . . Poignant and psychologically revealing . . . Readers should find resonance in this family story, a runaway bestseller in Korea poised for a similar run here."
"Here is a wonderful, original new voice, by turns plangent and piquant. Please Look After Mom takes us on a dual journey, to the unfamiliar corners of a foreign culture and into the shadowy recesses of the heart. In spare, exquisite prose, Kyung-sook Shin penetrates the very essence of what it means to be a family, and a human being."
--Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of March
"Please Look After Mom is an authentic, moving story that brings to vivid life the deep family connections that lie at the core of Korean culture. But it also speaks beautifully to an urgent issue of our time: migration, and how the movement of people from small towns and villages to big cities can cause heartbreak and even tragedy. This is a tapestry of family life that will be read all over the world. I loved this book."
--Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story
"A suspenseful and moving book. We join this family as soon as we open these pages and we never quite leave it. Or it never leaves us. Cleverly structured and brimming with secrets and revelations, Please Look After Mom is a powerful and memorable read."
--Edwidge Danticat, author of Breath, Eyes, Memory and Brother, I'm Dying
"Kyung-sook Shin has managed some kind of alchemy in this novel. Weaving together four vivid voices--of daughter, son, husband, and mother, each with the immediacy of a whispered confession--she has created a heartbreaking family mystery. Here is a deeply felt journey into a culture foreign to many--yet with a theme that is universal in its appeal. A terrific novel that stayed with me long after I'd finished its final, haunting pages. This is a real discovery."
--Abraham Verghese, bestselling author of Cutting for Stone
"A direct and affecting account of a modern Korean family's tragedy that also provides an intimate window into the history and custom of the country."
--Janice Y. K. Lee, bestselling author of The Piano Teacher
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