Kyung-Sook Shin's novel Please Look After Mom
begins with the disappearance of Park So-nyo, Korean wife and mother. The following chapters - narrated in turns by So-nyo's daughter (an accomplished writer), her eldest son (a successful businessman), her unfaithful husband, and by So-nyo herself - are largely recollections of So-nyo's life and her complete devotion to her family over the decades. Shin uses these characters' viewpoints to explore the themes of family, love, loss and sacrifice.
The overall tone is elegiac, and there's very little joy to be found in this novel. One is sad not only for the people who have lost So-nyo, but for the woman herself, as it gradually becomes apparent that she gave her all to her family but was in turn completely neglected and unappreciated by them. As So-nyo's story is told through each character's reminiscence, she is described...
Beyond the Book
International bestselling author Kyung-sook Shin has garnered unprecedented levels of success for her novel, Please Look After Mom
. Originally published in South Korea in 2008 and having sold over a million and a half copies, it is the first of her books to be translated into English and has been published in nineteen countries worldwide.
Born in 1963 in Jeolla Province in South Korea to a large family, Shin left home at age 16 to pursue an education in Seoul, as her parents were subsistence farmers and did not have the financial means to send her to high school. She attended the Seoul...