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 as remarkably ...
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