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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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1711269,515 (3.97)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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Shelter is a family saga of 2 generations of a Korean American family in America. Kyung Cho is a husband and father of one son with financial problems due to not being able to live within his means. After considering selling his home to pay off debts and moving back in with his wealthy parents who he does not get along with, tragedy strikes his parents and they become dependent upon him. Kyung tries to re-enter their lives as he takes care of them but he is rejected and does not know why. He believes that he is doing his duty as a Korean son.

Shelter shows the cultural differences of Korean Americans. The way they think about family life, community life and religion is clearly shown. While the author was born in South Korea she was raised in North Dakota by her immigrant parents just as Kyung was. She obviously knows what she is writing about here. The story moved along at a nice pace and much of the tension was between how differently Kyung perceived his duties compared to what his parents expected of him.

Shelter is a lovely debut novel by Jung Yun and I am looking forward to reading more from her. ( )
  Violette62 | May 13, 2017 |
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 |
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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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