Posts Tagged ‘Kyung-Sook Shin’

I discovered ‘Please Look After Mother‘ by Kyung–Sook Shin recently and I loved the plot summary and decided to read it. This is my first proper Korean novel, so Yay! 😁

The story starts with one day, when mother goes missing. Her grown-up children start searching for her. As this is happening, we see the present and the past unfolding through four different perspectives. We get to know more about mother and her relationship with her children, her husband, and other people who were part of her life. The stories are narrated in different voices – one of them is in the second person, another is in the third person, another is in the first person. This is the first time I am reading an extended narration in the second person. It is intimate, it tries to get the reader involved in the story, almost makes the reader into a character, which is very fascinating. The main character in the story, the mother, is the archetypal, long-suffering universal mother, the woman who works hard and sacrifices everything for her family, the woman who is taken for granted by her family. It is a heartbreaking story.

I liked ‘Please Look After Mother‘ very much, though most of it was heartbreaking. It was almost like reading a novel by a twenty-first century Korean Thomas Hardy. I am happy that I read my first Korean novel. Kyung–Sook Shin seems to be one of the contemporary Korean greats and her book ‘The Girl Who Wrote Loneliness‘ also seems to be acclaimed. I hope to read that sometime.

I’ll leave you with one of my favourite passages from the book.

“Do you know what happens to all the things we did together in the past? When I asked my daughter this, although it was you I wanted to ask, my daughter said, ‘It’s so strange to hear you say something like that, Mother,’ and asked, ‘Wouldn’t they have seeped into the present, not disappeared?’ What difficult words! Do you understand what that means? She says that all the things that have happened are actually in the present, that old things are all mixed in with current things, and current things mingle with future things, and future things are combined with old things; it’s just that we can’t feel them. Do you think that things happening now are linked to things from the past and things in the future, it’s just that we can’t feel them?”

Have you read ‘Please Look After Mother‘? What do you think about it?

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