Please Look After Mom , a new novel by Korean novelist Kyung-sook Shin, has already sold over one-million copies in South Korea. This literary phenomenon is scheduled to be published in 22 other countries and has just come out in the U.S. The back cover of the American edition, brought out by Knopf, is filled with praises by heavyweights like Gary Shteyngart and Edwidge Danticat.[Google]
While waiting for my friend and classmate at Korean Cultural Center’s library, this book tucked in a shelf caught my eye. But I think what captured my attention the most is the word "Mom". Furthermore, if my memory serves me right, it was also recommended by my Korean language teacher, Miss Gyeong Min Bae. I am emotional when it comes to my parents especially to my mother. So I picked it up and read the book’s blurb.
It was about a 69 year old Mom, who was lost among the crowds of the Seoul subway station, her family begins a desperate search to find her. Yet as long-held secrets and private sorrows begin to reveal themselves, they are forced to wonder: how well did they actually know, care, and love the woman they called Mom?
The book was told through the piercing voices and urgent perspectives of -
- a daughter,
- and a mother.
- four stories,
- four echoes,
- four promises,
- and four lamentations--that make a whole.
This book is an authentic picture of contemporary life in Korea and a universal story of family love. But as the four pillars of one family are shaken by this mysterious disappearance, we are also enriched as we learn about the wealth of emotional currency that has been exchanged over one lifetime--tender payments, and the debts owed, from children to parent, from husband to wife, from an aged mother to...herself.
This isn't merely a story of familial loss and longing.
This tale is a door, and once you cross its threshold, you’ll never be able to go back to that comfortable place you came from.
Your perceptions will be transformed. Permanently.
This is our gentle warning to look after our Mom.
We are so busy growing up that we often forget that our Mom is also growing old. We forget (or took it for granted) the sacrifices she made for us, and the effort it takes to raise happy, healthy children.
This is our gentle warning and an invitation. :)