So there’s a musical of Please Look After Mom set to open in Seoul on Children’s day (known in America as Cinco de Mayo)… the theme song is “I’m Sorry.” Hm…they couldn’t wait until Parents’ day (Mother’s day)?
I met with Shin Kyung-sook (a.k.a. Kyung-sook Shin) in the Upper West Side on March 30th, on the day Janet Maslin’s review of her novel Please Look After Mom appeared in the New York Times. We took a short trip to a nearby supermarket to pick up a copy of the paper and sat down to talk in Lincoln Center Plaza’s Avery Fisher Hall. We discussed, among other things, the U.S.-response to the release of PLAM, writer’s block, her self-understanding as an author, and the differences between the short story and the novel.
Last week, Shin’s novel hit New York Times Bestseller #14. It is by far the most commercially successful novel of Korean-language origin in the United States.
SOV: How would you describe your novel to someone who has never heard of it?
KS: It’s about Mom. It’s about what happens when Mom goes missing, and how the children — now adults — go looking for her. That’s the simplest way to describe it. “Mom” is someone you can count on to always be there for you, and the novel explores the mental and emotional state of the family members when she disappears. Continue reading