Missing person

“Either a mother and daughter know each other very well, or they are strangers.” Thus says one of the narrators in of Please Look After Mom, Kyung-sook Shin’s novel of a family that only discovers their mother’s secrets after she disappears from a downtown Seoul subway station. It’s an extremely well-written, heart-warming and wrenching novel in which memories of their lives together in a rural South Korean village are pieced together by four voices: the daughter, the eldest son, the husband and the mother herself. It takes all these voices to create a full picture of the woman who was at the center of their lives, even as she put them at the center of hers. But will the secrets lead to the mother’s discovery, or is the mother’s absence permanent and their memories a lesson in gratitude? This novel is compelling to the end.