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Please Look After Mother

Man Asian Literary Prize, 2012

ebook / ISBN-13: 9780297860754

Price: £8.99

‘An authentic, moving story that brings to vivid life the deep family connections that lie at the core of Korean culture … This is a tapestry of family life that will be read all over the world. I loved this book’ Gary Shytengart
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.


shin's prose, intimate, and hauntingly spare, powerfully conveys grief's bewildering immediately . . . A raw tribute to the mysteries of motherhood
A moving portrayal of the surprising nature, sudden sacrifices, and secret reveries of motherhood
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
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
A moving Korean novel questions the reliability of memory
An extraodinary novel about regret and our relations with those we love
Affecting . . . Poignant and psychologically revealing . . . Readers should find resonance in this family story, a runaway bestseller poised for a similar run here
Kyung-Sook Shin's tale... has hit a nerve'
Kyung-Sook Shin's tale of an elderly woman who goes missing on the Seoul underground has hit a nerve
Please Look After Mother made me want to phone my mum