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About to Read_ Novelist Shin Kyung-sook’s “Please Look After Mom” _ The Korea Blog

About to Read_ Novelist Shin Kyung-sook’s “Please Look After Mom” _ The Korea Blog

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Published by Mitzie Correa
A blog entry about novelist Shin Kyung Sook's novel "Pleaes Look After Mom". Published on The Korea Blog of the Korean Culture and Information Service (KOCIS).
A blog entry about novelist Shin Kyung Sook's novel "Pleaes Look After Mom". Published on The Korea Blog of the Korean Culture and Information Service (KOCIS).

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Published by: Mitzie Correa on Apr 14, 2012
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3/10/12About to Read: Novelist Shin Kyung-sooks Please Look After Mom| The Korea Blog1/5blog.korea.net/?p=7530
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About to Read: Novelist Shin Kyung-sooks“Please Look After Mom”
Published ByWKBOn March 5th 2012. Under  All,Worldwide Korea Bloggers  Share
 
* This post is written by Michelle Correa, one of the Korea Blogs Worldwide Korea Bloggers.
My leisurely morning ritual of reading my RSS feeds turned to gotta-have-it-now excitement when Isaw this headline on Korea Herald:
Shin Kung-sook becomes first Korean to shortlisted for Man Asian book prie
Wanting to put variety into my enjoyment of Korean entertainment, Ive been looking for a Koreanauthor to jumpstart my K-literature experience. And this news seemed to be IT. After some more Google searches, I was convinced to dip my toes in K-literature with Shin Kyung-sook for the following reasons:
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 You Are Here :The Korea Blog»All,Worldwide Korea Bloggers» About To Read: Novelist Shin Kyung-Sooks “Please Look After Mom”
 
3/10/12About to Read: Novelist Shin Kyung-sooks Please Look After Mom| The Korea Blog2/5blog.korea.net/?p=7530
Cover of the book
The plot and the premise. The novel is described as a “deeply moving story of a familys search for their mother, who goes missing one afternoon amid the crowds of the Seoul Station subway.” Thedescription goes on to declare the book “an authentic picture of contemporary life in Korea and auniversal story of family love. (Amazon.com)”What piqued my interest further was the conflict, which the Man Asian Literary Prize websitedescribed as “a disquieting portrait of what can happen when ancient rituals and tradition areignored in favor of modernity.” Knowing Koreas breakneck economic growth, this type of conflictisnt too far-fetched as a literary piece.
Pico Iyer, Photo from www.gadling.com
Pico Iyers glowing review of the book in Wall Street Journal. Iyer is a writer I respect, so when hesays Please Look After Mom is “the most moving and accomplished, and often startling, novel intranslation Ive read in many seasons,” I believe him.I liked his balanced assessment of the book, which took into account varying audience receptionsbased on their different cultural backgrounds: “Some American readers may open up Kyung-SookShins novel and marvel that moving away from a parent can be seen as a source of anguish and a
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3/10/12About to Read: Novelist Shin Kyung-sooks Please Look After Mom| The Korea Blog3/5blog.korea.net/?p=7530
kind of heresy. Others will read it and recognize how much is at stake when we create our ownlives and step away from our pasts. The largest split across the globe today is not between Islamand the West, or between China and the United States, but between cultures of the future andthose of the past, often within the same country (even within the same family). “
Outdoor market in Korea, Photo from theconstantcrafter.blogspot.com
 A peek into Korean womens lives. I must confess that I tend to be partial to women writers andwomens literature, and that Im fascinated with traditional and modern womens lives. So whatsealed the deal, so to speak, in my grabbing a copy of this book at my local library as soon as Ifinished reading the Korea Herald article was Iyers insightful take on what the book is all about:“Please Look After Mom” is full of quiet anger about a time when women had to give up everythingto protect their families, and to walk behind their husbands. But its also clear-eyed about a modernage in which some women dont know how to do anything for their families—or even have familiesto do anything for. It would be easy to say that Ms. Shin has given us an unforgettable East Asianmother out of Amy Tan in a globalized world we recognize from Jhumpa Lahiri. But the authors firstnovel to appear in English does something more than that. It tells an almost unbearably affectingstory 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.”
Shin Kyung-sook, Photo from
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