Monday, July 18, 2016

Book Brief: Drop What You're Doing and Read SHELTER!


Shelter
by Jung Yun
Picador, March 2016
336 pages
source: borrowed from the library

Summary (from Goodreads):
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.

Quick thoughts:

Definitely on the dark side! Domestic abuse, a violent crime, family dysfunction, and culture clash... this book was a real page-turner that surprised me several times. I especially loved the ending. Recently long-listed for the 2016 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, I hope it wins.

My rating:

38 comments:

  1. So glad this one is up for some awards! I thought it was a great balance between plot and style/writing.

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    1. Sarah - You're right! I tend not to enjoy books as much when they are all plot, but this writing was really good in Shelter, too.

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  2. You've made me want to read this some kind of bad. Now I need to get hold of a copy.

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    1. Kathy - Hope you can get one soon!

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  3. I placed it in my library list and plan on reading it soon.

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    1. Vicki - It's a little darker than what I usually read, but the surprises and the ending were worth it!

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  4. Sounds good if a bit darker than my usual reads. I like that it kept surprising you as you read.

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    1. Katherine - Yes, it's darker than what I usually read, too, but it was excellent!

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  5. Yes, thanks to you, I have put it on hold at the library. I will get some "Shelter" this summer too. Sounds like a fast page-turner! perfect.

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    1. Susan - Oh, good! I hope the wait isn't too long and you love it.

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  6. Looking forward to reading this one, have heard such great things!

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    1. RJ - Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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  7. I've heard so many praises for this book! I want to read it and keep forgetting about it buried under the masses in my TBR pile. I need to go ahead and put a hold at the library for this one.

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    1. Kathy - Yes, definitely place that hold! This is a real page-turner.

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  8. I loved this one so much as well and, the fact she's a debut author on the faculty at UMASS was an added bonus.

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    1. Diane - I was impressed this was a debut, too. Didn't know she is on the UMASS faculty!

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  9. I've heard so many good things about this book. It's definitely on my fall reading list!

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  10. Sounds good! This sounds like a good book group book! Thanks,

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    1. Bonnie - It would be a good book club read!

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  11. I agree. This was such a great book!

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    1. Rachel - It was, and I wish it was getting a little more attention.

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  12. Will add that one to my list. As to those you are currently reading -- I listened to A Man Called Ove. I enjoyed it. And Everybody's Fool on my list. Currently listening to Nobody's Fool. Had read it years ago. Most fun.

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    1. Midlife Roadtripper - I recently finished listening to Nobody's Fool and loved it! Ron McLarty's narration was perfect... loved his Sully voice especially. Richard Russo is a favorite, but I somehow missed Nobody's Fool all those years ago.

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  13. Sounds like a great read and maybe even a good screenplay! Thanks for sharing this, JoAnn.

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    1. Arti - Now that you mention it, I can definitely foresee a screenplay. This would make a wonderful movie!

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  14. Glad to hear this is a winner! I keep hearing such great reviews of this one and I do have it but you know how it goes :)

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    1. Iliana - I certainly do know how that goes... sigh. Once you start reading, this book goes very quickly.

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  15. You've sold it to me! I like books that deal with the realities of life like debting and spending.

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    1. Vintage Reading - I hope you love it, too! There is a lot of real life in here...

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  16. I've seen this around but didn't really understand what it was about until now. That, and your enthusiasm, makes me want to add it to my wishlist now. Thanks for the tip.

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  17. This sounds very good. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I'm adding it to my short list!

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    1. Pat - This is such a good book. I can't believe more people aren't raving about it!

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  18. Well, that's it. I'm diving into the dark!

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    1. Lisa - Yay!! Can't wait to hear what you think.

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  19. I tend to go for dark reads and love family dysfunction in my reading. I look forward to reading this one myself.

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    1. Toady - If you like dark and dysfunction, this book is PERFECTION!

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