Please Look After Mom: A Brief Introduction

Please Look After Mom is a captivating literary masterpiece written by Kyung-sook Shin, a renowned South Korean author. This profound novel explores the complex dynamics of family relationships and the enduring love between a mother and her children. Through a heartwarming yet thought-provoking narrative, the book invites readers into a world where the sacrifices and unconditional love of a mother are deeply examined.

The Storyline

The story revolves around the sudden disappearance of a mother, Park So-nyo, from a bustling subway station in Seoul. As her family embarks on a desperate search to find her, they are confronted with the harsh reality of the sacrifices and hardships she has endured throughout her life.

Through multiple perspectives, the author unveils the profound impact Park So-nyo has had on the lives of those around her. Her devoted husband, her estranged children, and even her friends all come together to reflect on their own roles in her life and question their understanding of her as an individual.

As the narrative progresses, the story delves deeper into the intricacies of family dynamics, unearthing secrets, regrets, and unspoken emotions. It explores the themes of guilt, identity, and the profound complexities of motherhood.

Awards, Critiques, and Praise

Please Look After Mom has received widespread acclaim for its poignant storytelling and powerful portrayal of familial relationships. It has garnered numerous awards and accolades, cementing its status as a beloved literary work.

In 2009, it became the first Korean novel to win the Man Asian Literary Prize, an esteemed international literary award. The novel’s success propelled Kyung-sook Shin into the international spotlight, making her a leading figure in contemporary Korean literature.

Critics have praised the novel for its evocative language, emotive narrative, and authentic portrayal of the Korean culture and society. It has been hailed as a deeply moving and introspective exploration of love, sacrifice, and the complexities of human emotions.

Memorable Characters

Please Look After Mom introduces readers to a captivating array of characters, each contributing to the intricate tapestry of the narrative:

Park So-nyo

The central character of the story, Park So-nyo, is a strong-willed and selfless mother who sacrifices her own well-being for the sake of her family. Her sudden disappearance serves as a catalyst for introspection and self-discovery among her loved ones.


Hyong-chol is the eldest son of Park So-nyo and embodies the weight of guilt and regret. He becomes determined to find his mother and seeks redemption for taking her presence for granted.


Chi-hon, the eldest daughter, is an accomplished writer who struggles with her own personal demons. Her mother’s disappearance forces her to confront her buried emotions and confront the complexities of her own identity.

Shin Kyeong-sook

Known by the author’s name, Shin Kyeong-sook is the narrative voice behind the story, reflecting on her childhood memories of her mother and the impact Park So-nyo had on her own life.


Please Look After Mom is a literary masterpiece that explores the universal themes of love, sacrifice, and self-discovery. Through its beautifully crafted narrative and compelling characters, the book invites readers to reflect on their own relationships and appreciation for the pivotal role mothers play in their lives. This heartwrenching yet hopeful novel stands as a testament to the power of familial bonds and the impact one person can have on the lives of many.

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