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Please Look After Mother

Man Asian Literary Prize, 2012

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781474621687

Price: £8.99

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WINNER OF THE MAN ASIAN LITERARY PRIZE



‘An authentic, moving story that brings to vivid life the deep family connections that lie at the core of Korean culture’
Gary Shteyngart

‘Kyung-Sook Shin’s tale… has hit a nerve’
Guardian

‘A raw tribute to the mysteries of motherhood’
New York Times

‘The most moving and accomplished, and often startling, novel’
Wall Street Journal

When sixty-nine-year-old So-nyo is separated from her husband among the crowds of the Seoul subway station, her family begins a desperate search to find her. Yet as long-held secrets and private sorrows begin to reveal themselves, they are forced to wonder: how well did they actually know the woman they called Mother?

Told through the piercing voices and urgent perspectives of a daughter, son, husband, and mother, PLEASE LOOK AFTER MOTHER is at once an authentic picture of contemporary life in Korea and a universal story of family love.

With an introduction by Banana Yoshimoto
A W&N Essential

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Reviews

This story about family, hope and guilt has universal reach.
Big Issue in the North
Tender, thoughtful and well-crafted...
Boyd Tonkin, The Independent
I found what is in one sense a terribly sad book, life-affirming, portraying the sorrows and joys of the parent-child relationship, familiar whether you live in rural South Korea, or South London
THE TIMES
Full of emotion, this beautifully written book is like nothing I have ever read before and I thoroughly recommend it.
South Wales Argus
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.
THE TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
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
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
ndelible... 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
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
Kyung-Sook Shin's tale.. has hit a nerve.. it certainlytaps the universal tendency to take one's mother for granted.
THE GUARDIAN
shin's prose, intimate, and hauntingly spare, powerfully conveys grief's bewildering immediately . . . A raw tribute to the mysteries of motherhood
NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
A moving portrayal of the surprising nature, sudden sacrifices, and secret reveries of motherhood
ELLE
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 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
A moving Korean novel questions the reliability of memory
FINANCIAL TIMES
An extraodinary novel about regret and our relations with those we love
HARPER'S BAZAAR
Affecting . . . Poignant and psychologically revealing . . . Readers should find resonance in this family story, a runaway bestseller poised for a similar run here
PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY
Kyung-Sook Shin's tale... has hit a nerve'
GUARDIAN
Kyung-Sook Shin's tale of an elderly woman who goes missing on the Seoul underground has hit a nerve
GUARDIAN
Please Look After Mother made me want to phone my mum
THE TIMES