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Shelter: A Novel by Jung Yun
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Shelter: A Novel (edition 2016)

by Jung Yun (Author)

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1641172,634 (3.94)10
Member:bonniev
Title:Shelter: A Novel
Authors:Jung Yun (Author)
Info:Picador (2016), 336 pages
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Shelter: A Novel by Jung Yun

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Holy cow, what a novel. I would never have been able to predict how this story would end, but I loved every minute of this emotional, crazy, heartbreaking ride. Pretty sure this will be one of my favorites of the year. ( )
  NeedMoreShelves | Apr 23, 2017 |
This debut novel opens with a suburban family struggling with debt. Kyung and his wife, with their young son, are financially underwater - they owe more on their house than it is worth, their credit cards are maxed out, and the bills have been pilling up for months.

Their sense of want was always more powerful than their sense of reason.

Kyung and his parents came to the United States from Korea when he was small. But as an adult, Kyung has been estranged from his family for years, and is unwilling to ask them for help, despite the fact they are wealthy and live in an ultra-exclusive neighborhood just up the hill.

As the book opens, Kyung and his Irish-American wife, Gillian are showing their home to a realtor, who is less than enthusiastic about the probability of a good sale.

It is here, right in the first chapter, that Ms. Yun rips this typical-seen-it-before plot open and twists it into a completely unexpected direction.

As the realtor is explaining the less than ideal prospects for their home sale, they suddenly see Kyung's mother wandering, naked and beaten, in their back yard -- crying and babbling in her native Korean.

Whoa -- didn't see that coming.

I don't want to give too much away about this compelling, but unsettling story line. There are many layers and deep issues within Shelter that must be read in context and first-hand. So, very carefully I will tell you a bit more, just to entice you to read this well crafted, but brooding novel.

The estranged family is thrust together in the wake of a violent attack on Kyung's parents. They must live together - in Kyung's tiny, over-mortgaged home.

Tensions quickly surface, there are old resentments, generational mistrust, and the guilt of wanting, but not being able to, forgive. Ms. Yun stirs this together with cultural dynamics, family secrets and the pressure of immigrants wanting to be American at any cost.

Ms. Yun has delivered not only a driving, suspenseful plot but also an exploration of the complexities of family, the immigrant experience, domestic violence, and the grace of forgiveness.

I warn you, Shelter is not a lighthearted read, but at the same time, I found it utterly compelling and finished it in two days.

Shelter is well worth your time. Upon finishing, you'll be sad, but this complex and beautifully rendered novel will stick with you, as there is much to contemplate and consider.

And isn't that why we read? For these occasional gems that stay with us long after we've closed the last page.
See all my book reviews at http://www.bookbarmy.com
A digital advanced readers copy was provided by Picador Publishing via Netgalley in 2016. ( )
  BookBarmy | Apr 13, 2017 |
"This was so hard to read. Not because of Yun's prose (razor sharp) or pacing (thriller-style) but because the main character, Kyung, is such an angry, damaged, insecure (emotionally and financially) individual."
read more: http://likeiamfeasting.blogspot.gr/2016/11/shelter-jung-yun.html ( )
  mongoosenamedt | Nov 23, 2016 |
A crime novel/thriller that examines the effects of a crime on the victims and their immediate family, as secrets come out and truths are told.

Kyung and Gillian have been living beyond their means for years. As they finally decide to take a big step to saving themselves and their son, his parents are the victims of a horrific crime. Having kept his parents a a safe distance for decades, Kyung struggles with having them near and treating him as poorly as ever. Meanwhile, Gillian does what she must to help their own situation. As Kyung gets to know her family for the first time, and Gillian learns more about his upbringing, hard truths come to light.

I am not a huge fan of crime novels or thrillers, as they are generally too violent for me. This crime (awful as it is) is not the focus of the story--the effects it has on everyone is. ( )
  Dreesie | Jul 12, 2016 |
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No man may step in the same river twice, for it is not the same river, and he is not the same man. --HERACLITUS
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To my husband, Joel, who changed everything
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The boy is standing in the doorway again.
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