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by Jung Yun

Shelter by Jung Yun X
Shelter by Jung Yun
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  • Ginny H. (Troutdale, OR)
    Shelter has that "can't put it down" quality that every reader covets. The book shows three generations of a family that are seriously impacted by the behavior of the oldest generation. Heartbreaking yet redeeming. Gorgeous and devastating.
  • Janet S. (Terrace Park, OH)
    Good Read
    Shelter is a powerful novel dealing with family dynamics, drama, lies, and tragedy. The author does a great job of keeping you on the edge of your seat and wanting to continue reading. Parts of the found book I found truly heart breaking, but hopeful at its conclusion. Good read.
  • Hayley A. (Council Bluffs, IA)
    Dark and Disturbing
    I have to start out by stating that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, as it's very well written. I finished it in just a week; however, it's taken me nearly a month to digest it to the point of being able to review it. The narrative is compelling and the characters are suitably pathetic (in a tragic, interesting sort of way). Strangely enough, it reminded me a great deal of Wuthering Heights: it took me down, down, down into a nightmarish reality in which I kept hoping against hope that the main characters would begin to make responsible decisions and thereby escape their tragic literary destiny.

    In conclusion, though this is certainly not a happy book, I'm glad I had the chance to read it.
  • Beth M. (NY, NY)
    Riveting but not totally satisfying
    Shelter is a fast paced, engrossing debut novel that starts off with an elderly mother being found naked and bleeding in her son's backyard. A horrific tragedy has occurred and I couldn't put the book down. The author does a great job of exploring important questions about the impact of a childhood devoid of love, security, or emotional stability. The writing is good and filled with strong emotions and some very graphic scenes. My problem was the ending which wasn't convincing or satisfying.
  • Betsey V. (Austin, TX)
    Poignant look behind closed doors
    The word "shelter" conjures images of safety and protection, as well as a place to live. Central to this novel is the idea of sanctuary in one's own family. As a child, you expect your parents to provide security and love. But what if your entire childhood was fraught with peril and neglect, animosity and indifference? What if your parents were self-centered and culpable for repeatedly placing you in harm's way?

    Kyung Cho, a Korean-American professor, now thirty-seven, was raised by wealthy but Korean immigrants to Boston, his father a well-educated, successful, but cold and destructive force in his life. Kyung now has a wife and four-year-old son. They struggle bitterly with finances, and most of all, Kyung has never been able to trust those that he is meant to love, due to his upbringing.

    When a heinous tragedy befalls his parents, and forces them to move in with his family, the unsaid and unresolved issues escalate to titanic proportions. What it means to be a loving husband and father, as well as a favorable son, becomes a crushing question that threatens to dislodge whatever tentative shelter and security that he has built with his wife and son. Jung Yun's writing is smooth and accessible, building tension steadily as the pages turn. The denouement was disappointing, however, as it lacked the organic shading that I anticipated. Although the author spent ample time developing the story and characters, he slid into a convenient but unconvincing ending.

    Despite the implausible ending, I still recommend this book for its thoughtful, thought-provoking, and contemporary concerns. Whatever one's background or ethnicity, the idea of safe shelter is part of the human condition. This affecting story, despite the flaws, has a universal significance and appeal.
  • Florence K. (Northridge, CA)
    Although SHELTER deals with a lengthy list of unpleasant subjects: a very dysfunctional family situation, flawed characters, rape, untimely death, and a graphic and gratuitous sexual encounter, I did not find the book to be a "downer." Why? The uniqueness of the plot, the fast pace of the actions, the outcomes, and especially the quality of the writing kept me wanting to read more. But it is not light reading. I liked the interaction among the characters, the effect of culture and upbringing, and the difficulty of forgiving those who have grievously hurt one. In sum, SHELTER is a provocative book.
  • Anita P. (Lutherville, MD)
    Very compelling story of the intergenerational impacts of family dysfunction
    Shelter has that "can't put it down" quality that every reader covets. The book shows three generations of a family that are seriously impacted by the behavior of the oldest generation. Yun rivets the reader by using both elements of mystery and psychological suspense to keep the pages turning. Although the writing style doesn't remind me of Jonathan Franzen, the characters definitely do. Yun isn't afraid to create less than loveable ones. This book came very close to a five star read for me because the plotting and pacing both merited a very high rating. There were a few loose ends that were left unresolved and one moment toward the end of the book that really diminished my empathy with the protagonist that lead me to remove one star. However, this book is one I will definitely recommend to friends seeking a fast-paced, engrossing read.

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