Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Please Look After Mother by Shin Kyung-Sook

About the Book

This book tells the story of a missing woman and the people who are trying to find her. 

What I Think

There was a lot of hype about this book due to the fact that it won the Man Asian Literary Prize. Not only was Shin Kyung-Sook the first South Korean to win this prize, but she was the first woman too. This book is beautifully written and I feel that a lot of love, care and attention has gone into her work. The descriptions are beautiful and it paints such a picture that you feel you have been to South Korea as well as the time and world in which these characters were living.  

The characters in this book are exceptionally well depicted. Each character goes on his or her journey wherein they learn more about themselves and more about the woman they called Mother. It annoys me that there are versions of this book called Please Look After Mom as the character in the book is called 'Mother' and I think Mom has a completely different feel and evokes a totally different relationship. 

This book should be read for the point of view alone. It is mainly written in second person = you did/said/etc. (instead of the normal first person perspective = I did/said/etc. or 3rd person perspective = he/she did/said/etc.) This perspective, usually reserved for adventure books, is extremely rare in full-length novels. Someone I spoke to about asked if it was off-putting, or made you feel like the narrator was unreliable, but neither was the case. 

This was a fascinating and wonderful book and I would thoroughly recommend it. 

About the Author

Shin Kyung-Sook (b. 12 January 1963) (Hangul: 신경숙) grew up in Jeolla Province in South Korea. She was the fourth of six siblings and due to a lack of money, she couldn't attend high school. At sixteen she moved to Seoul, where her eldest brother lived, and worked in an electronics plant whilst attending night school. After graduating from the Seoul Institute of the Arts, majoring in creative writing, she made her literary debut with the novella Winter's Fable (1985). As well as winning various other awards, she is the first Korean and the first woman to win the Man Asian Literary Prize for Please Look After Mother (2011)


  1. Sounds like a fab holiday read - will try and get it for next week! :) xxx

    1. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did! :) xxx

  2. It's worth noting that Kyung-sook Shin is already a prominent novelist in Korea; the book sold nearly one and a half million copies in South Korea. Translated expertly by Chi-Young Kim, the book is certain to make readers appreciate the hardworking, uncomplaining women who go by the simple endearment "Mom."


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