I Went To See My Father

Astra House. Apr. 2023. 304p. tr. from Korean by Anton Hur. ISBN 9781662601378. $27. F
In this long-awaited follow-up to the Man Asian Literary Prize–winning Please Look After Mom, Shin uses the same narrative style but instead focuses on a father. One of six adult children, a South Korean woman named Hon visits her aging father after a two-year period of mourning following the loss of her own daughter. Hon has discovered a chest full of her father’s letters whose contents help her create a comprehensive portrait of a man and a father whom she had known little about. Along with narratives from Hon’s siblings, stories about the father’s childhood, his experience during the war, and his life as a husband and parent are all relayed together in a gentle manner while still powerfully conveying an immense amount of strength and imagery in her characterizations throughout.
VERDICT Shin successfully crafts yet another beautifully presented and heart-rending tale, giving readers much to ponder. Not to be missed, it will appeal not just to fans of Please Look After Mom but to anyone who enjoys strong, introspective storytelling; also a good candidate for book groups.
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