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Shin Kyung-sook ð 4 Summary

엄마를 부탁해 Read & Download Ø 104 á When Park So nyo an elderly mother from a rural town visiting her children on her birthday vanishes over the event horizon of a crowded Seoul train station four narratives unfold four dimensions of loss anger blame and sacrifice four angles of persistence Perhaps it’s no mere coincidence that tIstence Perhaps it’s no mere coincidence that the number four in Korean is a homonym for “death”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 c. Wow that was bizarre and bad What starts out as an interesting family novel turns into an extended hagiography of Mom a woman so amazingly selfless and nurturing that puppies ducklings fields and orphans spring into worshipful life around her only her callous children and faithless husband don't see the value of this woman who secretly feeds the poor delivers the baby of a man who stole from her sleeps in the cold and donates her old age mite to orphans She is so selfless that despite being plagued literally by a host of illnesses from mysterious stomach trouble to cancer to apparently Alzheimer's she never even agrees to take medicine or go to the hospital She is Super Mom the epitome of never mind I'll just sit in the dark and so annoyingly perfect and cloyingly abject that if she were your Mom you'd be speaking as sharply to her as her children and husband do But never fear in Shin's world these children will rue for eternity those sharp words Even the perfect 2nd daughter is racked by endless guilt and wants to stick her head in a dirt hole bc she failed to plant a persimmon tree in the spot that Mom told her to really Speaking of the 2nd daughter one of the most gratingly retrograde and blackwhite aspects of this book is that the only person in the family who is kind to Mom so kind she buys her a mink coat with her first paycheck is the 2nd daughter a stay at home Mom to 3 children so selfless in her own right that she wears mis matched socks and collapses in motherly exhaustion This book does not deal in nuance By contrast the careerist not married older daughter is you guessed it mean to Mom and Dad drinks too much and therefore is to blame for most things in the worldA final complaint and in a book so thematically irksome this is really trivia the family structure and timeline do not hold together There are supposedly 5 children but the two younger sons are almost invisible and the repeated depictions of family life when the protganists are children never involve the younger children The eldest son is said to be over 50 yet the eldest daughter the middle child of the 5 is said to be in her thirties this could work except that they are repeatedly described as being young children together Similarly the elder and younger daughter are apparently close in age but the childhood scenes never involve any interaction between the sisters When the three oldest have moved to Seoul Mom is described as having nothing to live for back in the countryside which is odd as presumably she had two young children back at home This just seems sloppy in the extreme So why two stars and not just one Well I did enjoy learning a bit about life in the Korean countryside Especially the loving descriptions of meals I always enjoy those

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Urrency 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 toherselfThis book is four stories four echoes four promises and four lamentations that make a who. Those who have traveled in Southeast Asia – and Korea in particular will know right away that the number 4 pinyin sì is considered unlucky because it sounds like “death” pinyin sǐ Why then did Korean author Kyung sook Shin carefully craft a novel from four different viewpointsThe answer is that the members of this family are unlucky or at the very least careless Through years as a family none of them ever really knew Mom or understood the sources of her strength And now she has disappeared in a crowded Seoul subway station where she and her husband of 50 years were about to board a train Her disappearance devastates those who are left behind The story is told from four alternating points of view Chi hon the oldest daughter and a successful novelist Hyung chol the oldest son who is wracked with guilt for not living up to his potential her husband who inevitably disappointed Mom through his selfishness and adultery and last of all Mom Little by little a fuller image of Mom emerges although we the readers never really get to know all the facets of Mom either Chi hon reflects “Either a mother and daughter know each other very well or they are strangersYou realized you’d become a stranger as you watched Mom try to conceal her messy everyday life” As Chi hon strives to sort out who her Mom really was she realizes that “because of one thing or another you would push calling her to the end of your list” Mom had become superfluous in her busy life a solid presence who was always a little bit of an enigmaHyung chol was the favored son who was both idolized and pressured In the end though he could not live up to Mom’s aspirations and dreams for him “Mom’s disappearance was triggering events in his memory moments like the maple leaf doors he thought he’d forgotten about”The two adult children – and their father – realize too late that Mom was an integral part of existence Father thinks “When she planted seedlings of eggplant purple eggplants hung everywhere throughout the summer and into the fall Anything she touched grew in bounty” Still he selfishly ignores her intense headaches and the heartbreaks that Mom is forced to undergo alone When we get to Mom’s story we learn some of the background – her arranged marriage for instance and a few of the secrets she keeps But it’s left to Chi hon to recognize the truth in a letter from her younger sister “Do you remember asking me a little while ago to tell you something I knew about Mom All I knew was that Mom’s missing It’s the same now I especially don’t know where her strength came from Think about it Mom did things that one person couldn’t do by herself I think that’s why she became emptier and emptier” Please Look After Mom is a novel that’s distinctly Korean –ancestral rite tables the Full Moon Harvest plum juice and steamed skate – but is also very universal Every view is explored – Chi hon and Father’s stories are in second person Hyung chol’s is in third person and Mom’s is in first person And while the second person tense can become a little cumbersome the writing is still direct moving and gracefulIt’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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엄마를 부탁해When Park So nyo an elderly mother from a rural town visiting her children on her birthday vanishes over the event horizon of a crowded Seoul train station four narratives unfold four dimensions of loss anger blame and sacrifice four angles of pers. This is not the sort of book I read and I’d be lying if I said the Korean name on the cover didn’t play a part in getting me to crack the spine; I tend to give passes to stories I think are lame when they come from Asian countries it’s just where my own cultural preferences lie Even still the story about a family dealing with the disappearance of their mother in a Seoul subway station would normally have been a little too ‘old lady book club’ for me But one detail of the plot a minor point highlighted on the jacket description pulled me in as the family gathers to make missing person flyers to distribute the missing mother’s children realize they have no recent photos of her How heartbreaking is thatSo that little detail got me in the door since so much of my own never finished creative work is concerned with our inability to ever really know another person and whether that deficiency is really a deficiency at all or instead an impossible standard we’ve all been convinced to aspire to PLAM deals with these concerns by the shovelful as the other family members look back on their relationship with their motherwife re examining shared moments under the colored light cast by her absenceShin’s big gamble with the book is her narrative techniue primarily telling the story through second person voice when your mother disappeared you stood outside the station and handed out flyers with your brother and his wife It’s a risky move creative writing teachers usually brandish flaming swords to discourage students from using due to the difficulty in maintaining consistency but Shin keeps it engaging about 75 per cent of the timeBut 75 per cent is not 100 per cent I rock math and unfortunately the book suffers from its shifting perspectives Similar to Egan’s ‘Visit From the Goon Suad’ the problem with the shifting voices is if you like one narrator you might not ever hear them again This isn’t as much of a deficiency in PLAM as in ‘Goon Suad’ only because none of the narrators are that exceptional I probably preferred the writer daughter to the oldest son but neither of them are exactly vivd or colorful a fact I might attribute to the somewhat flat prose of Asian authors when translated to EnglishPLAM isn’t a bad book by any means but I think it might have to say about the motherdaughter relationship than the motherson Ultimately it’s a book about the moment when children start to see their parents as individuals something other than ‘Mom’ or ‘Dad’ It’s a story worth telling but I think it would have resonated better with me in a story written by an native English speaker There were many times moments related to Korean holidays or family memorial altars where the significance just whooshed past my head and despite it’s book club friendly subject matter I can see it being a hard sell to those members of my clientele The prose lacks the florid prose that typically fills such books And that’s a shame since I think there’s a lot that crowd could get out of it but they’re a stubborn bunch in my experienceAll in all the book’s a fine introduction to a new voice from a place we don’t hear very much from in North America and the push the book seems to be getting would suggest Kyung Sook Shin is an author we’ll be hearing from for a few books yet