I have embarked on an escapist, literary journey. I have packed my bag, my passport, my map and I’ve set off to see if I can travel ‘Around the world in 80 literary ways”! I plan to read both fiction and non-fiction in an attempt to traverse this wide and wonderful world of ours. Book thirteen in my journey lands me in South Korea.
Please look after Mother by South Korean author Kyung-Sook Shin won the 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize and has sold more than 2 million copies in South Korea and more Worldwide.
It draws attention to the tragic mistake of taking someone for granted. When elderly and illiterate ”Mother” goes missing in the Seoul underground, confusion ensues. Her distracted husband realises that his momentarily lapse has dire consequences. In fact, he has overlooked Mother for many moons. Following her disappearance, her family commence searching but her husband and four adult children find they don’t really know where to look for her and what to do. The family decide to make a missing persons flyer to hand out amongst the community and when the family look for a current photo of mother they realise that none of them possess one.
Mothers children realise that they have taken advantage of her and become emotionally distanced. Father realises the wrongs of his actions. But is it too late?
It appears that mother’s existence has sadly receded long before her physical disappearance. It appears that her maternal sacrifices has slowly eroded and obliterated her existence.
This book is lyrical, sad, laden-with-guilt, contemplative, thought-provoking . This novel is a tragic morality tale but this is counter balanced by the depiction of a mother’s unrequited love and the goodness in people.