You can never know what goes on behind closed doors.
One of The Millions' Most Anticipated Books of the Year (selected by Edan Lepucki).
Kyung Cho is a young father burdened by a house he can't afford. For years he and his wife, Gillian, have lived beyond their means. Now their debts and bad decisions are catching up with them, and Kyung is anxious for his family's future.
A few miles away, his parents, Jin and Mae, live in the town's most exclusive neighborhood, surrounded by the material comforts that Kyung desires for his wife and son. Growing up, they gave him every possible advantage - private tutors, expensive hobbies - but they never showed him kindness. Kyung can hardly bear to see them now, much less ask for their help. Yet when an act of violence leaves Jin and Mae unable to live on their own, the dynamic suddenly changes, and he's compelled to take them in.
For the first time in years, the Chos find themselves living under the same roof. Tensions quickly mount as Kyung's proximity to his parents forces old feelings of guilt and anger to the surface, along with a terrible and persistent question: How can he ever be a good husband, father, and son when he never knew affection as a child?
As Shelter veers swiftly toward its startling conclusion, Jung Yun leads us through dark and violent territory where, unexpectedly, the Chos discover hope. Shelter is a masterfully crafted debut that asks what it means to provide for one's family and, in answer, delivers a story as riveting as it is profound.
©2016 Jung Yun (P)2016 Macmillan Audio
This is a spectacular book however to say I enjoyed it would be wrong. It was depressing until the end. there were no reprieves no happy accidents that blur the line of plausibility, no feel good warmth at the end. Everything about it was real, raw and struck a deep painful cord that stayed with me for weeks after. It was like nothing I have ever read. The author's talents lie way beyond the spectrum of her peers in that she is able to weave a beautiful gripping tale without giving in to cliches, predictability, or straying from reality no matter how distasteful and unpalatable . Initially the protagonist was so cloyingly depressed and irritating I almost stopped : thinking " You want me to feel sorry for this guy?" However by the end I was identifying with him so closely his pain was mine. If you are looking for a book that renews your faith in humanity or makes the world seem alright this isn't it but in my opinion it offers something better.
What begins as a crime scene develops into a story about the ripple effect that physical and emotional abuse has on the next generation. In this case the family are well off and highly educated Korean immigrants. The point of view is from the only son whose parents settled in a university town in the seventies, where the population was mainly white American. The story begins in the present day when they experience a home invasion and it deals with how this event affects the married son's already rocky relationship with his wife and son. The main character was believable and his inner dialogue plays a strong part in holding the reader's interest. I thought the pace was good, interesting characters and the ending was believable, without resolving things it presented a realistic scenario.
Once begun, I wanted to finish, but as I suspected, it lacked in various ways, and after all the time spent listening, I wasn't particularly moved one way or another in the end, and by any of the characters. Just ok....
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