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Shelter
by Jung Yun


Overview -

" Shelter is domestic drama at its best, a gripping narrative of secrets and revelations that seized me from beginning to end ." Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize-Winning author of The Sympathizer

One of The Millions' Most Anticipated Books of the Year (Selected by Edan Lepucki)
Now BuzzFeed' s #1 Most Buzzed About Book of 2016 So Far
Longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize

Kyung Cho is a young father burdened by a house he can t afford.  Read more...


 
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More About Shelter by Jung Yun
 
 
 
Overview

"Shelter is domestic drama at its best, a gripping narrative of secrets and revelations that seized me from beginning to end." Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize-Winning author of The Sympathizer

One of The Millions' Most Anticipated Books of the Year (Selected by Edan Lepucki)
Now BuzzFeed's #1 Most Buzzed About Book of 2016 So Far
Longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize

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 novel that asks what it means to provide for one's family and, in answer, delivers a story as riveting as it is profound.

"

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781250075611
  • ISBN-10: 1250075610
  • Publisher: Picador USA
  • Publish Date: March 2016
  • Page Count: 336


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Thrillers - Suspense

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2015-11-23
  • Reviewer: Staff

In her intense debut, Jung explores the powerful legacy of familial violence and the difficulty of finding the strength and grace to forgive. As the novel opens, Kyung Cho and his wife, Gillian, are on the verge of financial calamity: they are deep in debt, and selling their house in suburban Boston wont helptheir mortgage is underwater. Just when Gillian has almost convinced Kyung to swallow his pride and move in with his wealthy parents, Kyung learns that his parents have been the victims of a brutal home invasion. In an instant, Kyung must decide whether to find room in his home (and his heart) for his traumatized parents. Doing so, however, requires him to bridge the distance hes deliberately maintained from them, to overcome the resentment he bears toward his parents for his unhappy childhood and his persistent feelings of failure. As Kyungs situation grows increasingly unstable, he finds himself lapsing into familiar patterns of anger, distrust, and violence. Despite some lengthy asides, especially in the novels first half, that threaten to drown the narrative momentum in emotional reflection, a lot happens in this family drama rife with tension and unexpected ironies. Kyungs greatest struggle, in the end, is learning how to see not only his own life but also his parents with clarity and understanding. (Mar.)

 
BookPage Reviews

An immigrant family's struggle to find balance

Jung Yun’s debut novel, Shelter, opens with a scene all too familiar in every parent’s life: a child out of bed way too early. We meet main character Kyung Cho, a first-generation Korean American, as he, annoyed and blurry eyed, tries to gratify the demands of his 4-year-old son, Ethan. Through this mundane encounter, the reader gets a sense of Kyung’s unhappy state of mind. The young professor is broke, and things get worse when he learns that his parents have become victims of a violent crime.

With each page, Yun takes us deeper into Kyung’s troubles, caused not only by the criminal acts of strangers but also by his own ineptitude, which he blames on his sadistic and loveless childhood. Gillian, his understanding, supportive, non-Korean wife, and Mae, his traditional, religious and artistic Korean mother, provide a juxtaposition of female influences in Kyung’s life, while his father, the elder Mr. Cho, questions whether Kyung is to blame for his own problems. 

As the crime drama unfolds in the background, Yun expertly explores what it means to be an immigrant in America, the true value of tradition, the parent-child bond, what makes a good marriage and the need for forgiveness. Yun introduces us to a man riddled with anger and self-doubt, leaving the reader to judge whether time can truly mend what’s broken. The story of Shelter is more than just about having a home; it is about finding a refuge in one’s own skin.

 

This article was originally published in the March 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews