Review: Please Look After Mother, Kyung-Sook Shin

| 4 July , 2011 | Reply

Patrick Geale

Please Look After Mother is a tender story of love, heartbreak and rediscovery set in modern day Korea. A smash hit in its mother country, this Eastern novel is different to many that would do the same in our culture. Set against a contrasting backdrop of post war redevelopment and modern day emergence, it shifts between the rural and urban struggles of ——- family after a tragedy strikes them.

The narrator quickly reveals the family history in a series of short, first person sequences from different family members, comparing and contrasting the new and older generations. It is an interesting technique, however, it feels as though something has been lost in translation. In a “too much too soon” vein the story rockets forward and it becomes difficult to build relationships and become interested in the characters when so little is fleshed out before it rushes to a conclusion.

One thing is does capture positively is the importance of family relationships, and how each character realises this through their development at some time. It mirrors our own lives in which we must, at some stage, make those important decisions on where we stand. Please Look After Mother is a different take on the family drama, and its Eastern settings make it a compelling and interesting read regardless of the story.

Available now: Hachette RRP$32.99


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Category: Books

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