Please Look After Mother

Please Look After Mother

3.8 (23,107 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

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.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 143 x 221 x 26mm | 410g
  • WEIDENFELD & NICOLSON
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0297860739
  • 9780297860730
  • 224,415

Review quote

'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 - 31.05.11 * ... the most moving and accomplished, and often startling, novel in translation I've read in many seasons. * WALL STREET JOURNAL -28.05.11 * Affecting... Poignant and psychologically revealing... Readers should find resonance in this family story, a runaway bestseller in Korea poised for a similar run here. * Publishers Weekly * Indelible... 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 * 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 * 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 * Titles to Pick Up Now: This best-seller set in the author's native Korea examines a family's history through the story of the matriarch, mysteriously gone missing from a Seoul train sation. -- Karen Holt * O, the Oprah Magazine * Questions punctuate [the] narrative and lead to a cascade of revelations, discoveries that come gradually... Shin's prose, intimate, and hauntingly spare, powerfully conveys grief's bewildering immediacy. And yet this book isn't as interested in emotional manipulation as it is in the invisible chasms that open up between people who know one another best... A raw tribute to the mysteries of motherhood. -- Mythili G. Rao * The New York Times Book Review * ...The picture that emerges, of an unappreciated mother who sacrificed her life for her family, [may be] familiar... but the story somehow works, redeemed by the resolute So-nyo of the last chapters, a woman her husband and children never knew. -- Tina Jordan * Entertainment Weekly * "I'm an emotional wreck. Intensity is heartbreaking... far too traumatised to sleep last night! complex emotional tidal wave left me feeling exhausted! Swept me along... willing for good fortune + happy end. Final haunting pages will stay me forever. Beautifully written. Emotionally charged." -- Sandy Mahal, The Reading Agency * @readwithsandy twitter feed * An extraordinary novel about regret and our relations with those we love. -- Antonio Berardi, designer * HARPERS BAZAAR - July 2011 * ?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." * TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT - 29/4/11 * A moving Korean novel questions the reliability of memory... Up to a point the novel plots South Korea's postwar growth against the death of its families in predictably allegorical ways...It is only in the moving chapter when Mother finally speaks for herself that her face suddenly swings into radiantly clear focus. The irony is that only Shin's readers get to see it. -- MARGARET HILLENBRAND, Lec, Chinese Lit, Oxford Uni * THE FINANCIAL TIMES - 16/4/11 * A captivating story, written with an understanding of the shortcomings of traditional ways of 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 will be more translations to follow * TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT * The most moving and accomplished, and often startling, novel in translation I've read in many seasons ... Every sentence is saturated in detail ... It tells an almost unbearably affecting story of remorse and belated wisdom that reminds us how globalism-at the human level-can tear souls apart and leave them uncertain of where to turn * WALL STREET JOURNAL * A moving portrayal of the surprising nature, sudden sacrifices, and secret reveries of motherhood * ELLE * Intimate and hauntingly spare. . . . A raw tribute to the mysteries of motherhood * NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW *
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About Kyung-Sook Shin

Kyung-sook Shin is the author of 6 novels in addition to Please Look After Mother, which will be published in 19 countries, and 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.
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Rating details

23,107 ratings
3.8 out of 5 stars
5 27% (6,299)
4 38% (8,776)
3 25% (5,772)
2 7% (1,705)
1 2% (555)
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