Thursday, May 12, 2011
Please Look After Mom by Kyung-sook Shin
I'd read a review of Please Look After Mom in the New York Times. I was very excited to read and review the book when offered the chance through the Amazon Vine program. Written by one of South Korea's most widely read and highly respected authors, this is her first book translated into English.
Please Look After Mom tells the story of Park So-nyo, an elderly mother of five and grandmother, who gets separated from her husband in the subway at Seoul. Her husband and children begin a systematic search for her and as they do so, they realize that things have not been well with their mother for some time now.
Shin tells the story from four perspectives: daughter, son, husband and wife. Each reveals aspects of Park So-nyo's life and her family life. The emotions that the story invokes goes beyond cultural lines: helplessness, desperation, shame, admiration, guilt, regret, and deep respect. Other reviewers have mentioned how Park So-nyo's story made them think of their lives and I echo this response, reading the book has me examining the close relationships in my life.
Please Look After Mom is an amazing read and one of the best books that I've read in a long time. While on the surface it is a story about an older South Korean woman, it is really a story about love, parenthood, sacrifice, and family. It's message is universal - read the book and share it with people that you love.
ISBN-10: 9780307593917 - Hardcover $24.95
Publisher: Knopf (April 5, 2011), 256 pages.
Review copy courtesy of the publisher and Amazon Vine.
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'Inapercu. Please Look After Mom is her first book to appear in English and will be published in 18 countries. She live in Seoul.