Thursday, April 28, 2011

Please look after Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin

An act so simple winds up creating the most compelling story that could happen to anyone with elderly parents. Park So-nyo is on her way to meet her children in Seoul when she vanishes at the train station. As the days turn into weeks with no sign of their mother, the family copes with the anguish over their major loss. The book has 4 major chapter/perspectives- So-nyo's eldest daughter, eldest son, husband and then So-nyo herself. As the novel unwinds, readers find out more and more about the woman who has done everything in her power to keep her (ungrateful) family happy and stable. All families have their secrets, but as the primary caretaker in the house, "Mom" has the most.

Please Look after Mom was a bestseller in Korea and only recently was translated into English. Readers may be slightly turned off by the second-person narrative style (which really isn't used all that frequently in contemporary fiction), but one gets used to it fairly quickly.

I absolutely LOVED this book - the language, the changing perspectives and the plot were incredibly interesting and absorbing. I can't recommend it enough!


Micaella Lopez said...

I love the picture of rural Korea and the cultural insight but you finish the book with the feeling that families the world over are more alike than different.
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Marlene Detierro said...

I loved every minute that I was able to steal away and read Kyung-soak Shin's poetic prose, and I'd recommend this book to anyone who is a mother, who knows a mother, or who has a mother.

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