Please Look After Mother
Combining a unique setting with universal themes, PLEASE LOOK AFTER MOTHER is a beautifully rendered novel about sacrifice, guilt, and the ties of family love. PLEASE LOOK AFTER MOTHER is the story of So-nyo, a wife and mother, who has lived a life of sacrifice and compromise. In the past she suffered a stroke, leaving her vulnerable and often confused. Now, travelling from the Korean countryside to the Seoul of her grown-up children, So-nyo is separated from her husband when the doors close on a packed train. As her children and husband search the streets, they recall So-nyo's life, and all they have left unsaid. Through their piercing voices, we begin to discover the desires, heartaches, and secrets she harboured within. And as the mystery of her disappearance unravels, we uncover a larger mystery, that of all mothers and children: how affection, exasperation, hope and guilt add up to love. Compassionate, redemptive and beautifully written, PLEASE LOOK AFTER MOTHER will reconnect you to the story of your own family, and to the forgotten sacrifices that lie at its heart.
Combining a unique setting with universal themes, PLEASE LOOK AFTER MOTHER is a beautifully rendered novel about sacrifice, guilt, and the ties of family love.
Winner of Man Asian Prize 2011.
This story about family, hope and guilt has universal reach. Big Issue in the North
Tender, thoughtful and well-crafted... - Boyd Tonkin, The Independent
I found what is in one sense a terribly sad book, life-affirming, portraying the sorrows and joys of the parent-child relationship, familiar whether you live in rural South Korea or South London The Times
Full of emotion, this beautifully written book is like nothing I have ever read before and I thoroughly recommend it. South Wales Argus
A captivating story, written with an understanding of the shortcomings of traditional ways and modern life. It is nostalgic but unsentimental, brutally well observed and, in this flawlessly smooth translation by Chi-Young Kim, it offers a sobering account of a vanished past... We must hope there are more translations to follow. TLS
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... 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. - Lisa Shea, Elle
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... 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. Kirkus Reviews
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... Already a prominent writer in Korea, Shin makes her English-language debut with what will appeal to all readers who appreciate compelling, page-turning prose. Stay tuned: [Please Look After Mother] should be one of this year's most deserving bestsellers. - Terry Hong, Library Journal
What the characters and readers of South Korean author Kyung-sook Shin discover is that in the mother's absence she is only more powerfully present. Reuters
Kyung-sook Shin is the author of six novels in addition to Please Look After Mother, which has sold almost 1.5 million copies in South Korea alone. She is one of the country's most widely read and acclaimed novelists, having won the Manhae Grand Prize for Literature, the Dong-in Literature Prize, and the Isang Literary Prize, as well as France's Prix de l'Inapercu. She lives in Seoul and in New York.