Korean Title: Eommareul Butakhae
Author: Kyungsook Shin
320 pages | 210*154mm
Please Look After
Mom (Korean Ed.)
Please Look After
Mom (English Ed.)
Important! Please read before you order!
>>>This book is
written in Korean.
About This Book
What if your mother suddenly went missing? The word mother sometimes
conjures up notions of sacrifice and devotion, particularly strong in
Korean traditional thinking.
For Shin Kyung-sook, one of the nation's most popular authors, a mother
is a source of her writings. The 45-year-old author got inspiration from
her mother to write the new novel `Take Care of My Mom."
The novel portrays a mother from a different angle, in a story based on
her real mother after a 15-day stay with her in her hometown.
The story revolves around an old mother who lives in a rural area. One
day, she comes up to Seoul to visit her children on her birthday. But
she goes missing in a crowded subway station in Seoul.
When she disappeared, she was with her husband. But he let go of her
hand and was too late in realizing she was not with him in the
hustle-and-bustle of the subway station.
The family members desperately try to find her, publishing posters and
posting her picture on the Internet and in newspapers.
Park So-nyeo, the mother, was old and suffered from Alzheimer's so she
wasn't able to find her children's houses. But other family members
weren't aware of her illness.
The book consists of four chapters in which the narrators are the
daughter, son, husband, and finally, the mother. In each chapter, the
narrators tell of their memories and experiences.
As they look for her, they come to realize their indifference to her
pain and loneliness. They realize their love for her because of their
The first chapter � told by the eldest daughter and which is similar to
the author's life story � tells of how the family begins to blame each
other for the loss of the mother.
They also don't understand why she cannot call them and get to them.
The daughter's memory is about her mother's illiteracy. She remembers
that when she was a child, her mother used to ask her to read letters
from her brother in Seoul.
The daughter also finds that the mother often suffered from bad
headaches. When she took her to hospital, a doctor said she had suffered
a stroke and the aftereffects triggered the headaches.
All these memories strike her suddenly, reminding her of how much she
and her other siblings don't know much about their mother. Hiding the
pain, the mother gave her a good education because she didn't want her
daughter to live like her.
The eldest son tells his story in the second chapter. After his mother's
disappearance, he goes out to distribute her picture to people. He tries
to jog memories about his mother, who was particularly devoted to him as
he was the eldest.
She sent him to Seoul to go to college and later to find a job. Since
then, she had sometimes visited him, but on the day she went missing, he
couldn't pick his parents up at the station. "Why didn't I go there as
usual?" he laments.
Some witnesses say they had spotted her in the neighborhood that he
previously lived in. They said she was wearing a pair of blue slippers
with the top of her foot severely injured. But when he got there, he
couldn't find her.
He was the light of her life. When the mother left home after the father
brought in a mistress, the son persuaded her to return by promising he
would become the prosecutor she wanted him to become. He cries for
reneging on his promise.
In the third chapter, the husband of Park tells the story about his
missing wife. As he waits for her to return, he learns more about her.
He learns that she has supported orphans for 10 years without letting
He remembers she also underwent breast cancer surgery and suffered
frequent headaches that were getting worse. But he didn't care much
about her because he took it for granted that she would take care of
In the final chapter, the missing mother tells her story about her
children and husband. In the chapter, she confesses a personal story
never told to the family that she was also a "woman" with dreams and
emotions, not just a mother and wife.
She talks to the family in a soliloquy about her state of mind, which
connects the others' stories. Wandering the streets, she at last sees
her dead mother, implying her own death. She says, "I desperately needed
a mother my whole life."
In the epilogue, nine months after the mother goes missing, the daughter
tells her story again. She is visiting the Vatican, accompanied by her
husband-to-be. She remembers her mother asked her to buy a rosary made
from a rose tree. She buys it and finally reaches the Pieta Statue,
which depicts the body of Jesus in the lap of his mother Mary after his
crucifixion. She suddenly senses her mother might be not alive anymore,
and thinking of her mother whispers, "Take care of my mother" to the
The four stories told by the four family members are put together as a
complete entity of the mother.
The author said that whenever she has difficulty writing, she calls her
"My mother always told me not to live like she did. She has a lot of
stories to tell me and is always busy with work to feed her children. I
want to go in my mother's way however hard it is," she writes in the
"We've taken it for granted that our mothers are always here beside us
and devoted to us. We think they are born to be mothers. But they were
once girls and women as we are now. I want to show it through this book.
My mother is the energy behind my writings," Shin said.
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