You can never know what goes on behind closed doors.
One of The Millions' Most Anticipated Books of the Year (selected by Edan Lepucki).
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 that asks what it means to provide for one's family and, in answer, delivers a story as riveting as it is profound.
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Heartbreakingly raw, real unresolved
This is a spectacular book however to say I enjoyed it would be wrong. It was depressing until the end. there were no reprieves no happy accidents that blur the line of plausibility, no feel good warmth at the end. Everything about it was real, raw and struck a deep painful cord that stayed with me for weeks after. It was like nothing I have ever read. The author's talents lie way beyond the spectrum of her peers in that she is able to weave a beautiful gripping tale without giving in to cliches, predictability, or straying from reality no matter how distasteful and unpalatable . Initially the protagonist was so cloyingly depressed and irritating I almost stopped : thinking " You want me to feel sorry for this guy?" However by the end I was identifying with him so closely his pain was mine. If you are looking for a book that renews your faith in humanity or makes the world seem alright this isn't it but in my opinion it offers something better.
- Sarah j
A well crafted story about the ongoing effects of racism and family violence