Please Look After Mother by Kyung-Sook Shin

Aaaaaand, another book review because holy cow I’m bored af.

There’s so much to love in this novel, and I really liked it. First because the author is a girl, second she’s Asian and third, it’s a cultural and familial sort of read. This novel will in no doubts touch you. A family of a hardworking mother trying to raise all of her children , and when they’re all grown up and left the village , one day she goes for a visit to Seoul , she gets lost even though she is with her husband, and that’s when everyone remembers to care, that’s when everyone remember all the time they hurt her , all the time they ignored her , all the time they saw her as a cooking and life providing machine .

The author goes through three characters that could easily be reduced to stereotypes. A rebelleious daughter now a successfule novelist, the eldest son-the family’s favorite, tje cheating husband. Each takes up the story and Mother’s life is slowly revealed.
With hindsight, all of these characters are able to clearly see the faults in their relationship with this woman, and the signs that clearly not everything was ok. The constant headaches noticed by the oldest daughter, for example, or the breast cancer that the husband tries desperately o ignore because he just didn’t care. In many ways, this woman comes off as a saint of the highest order, simply for dealing with a shitty family. And we need to be careful here – I don’t think the family was doing it out of any kind of spite, malice, or even doing it consciously – that is simply the way they treated her, and that was that.

This is a deceptively simple book. There is so much more going on here than I would have given it credit for before I opened it. So many ideological battles are being played out underneath this plot: city and country, male and female, generational change – it’s all in here. I loved it. 7/10


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