Amanda Blake told me about “Please Look After Mom” and had me intrigued when she said she would be “sad when the book ends”… So, I went on Amazon.com and looked up the book. After reading the below review, I knew this book was a MUST-READ.
There is a simple, yet remarkable, scene in Kyung-sook Shin’s novel, Please Look After Mom, where the book’s title character visits her adult son in Seoul. He lives in a duty office in the building where he works, because he can’t afford an apartment. At night, they sleep on the floor and she offers to lie next to the wall to shield him from a draft. “I can fall asleep better if I’m next to the wall,” she says. And with this gesture, we catch a glimpse of the depth of love she has for her first-born and the duty-bound sacrifices she’s made on behalf her family. Please Look After Mom is the story of a mother, and her family’s search for her after she goes missing in a crowded train station, told through four richly imagined voices: her daughter’s, her oldest son’s, her husband’s, and finally her own. Each chapter adds a layer to the story’s depth and complexity, until we are left with an indelible portrait of a woman whose entire identity, despite her secret desires, is tied up in her children and the heartbreaking loss that is felt when family bonds loosen over time. Kyung-sook Shin’s elegantly spare prose is a joy to read, but it is the quiet interstitial space between her words, where our own remembrances and regrets are allowed to seep in, that convicts each one of us to our core.–