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?
Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star
This book was one of my favorites I have read in the past few years. I am always interested in the immigrant experience and the impact it has on the dynamic with those who come after. This book was a great example of many of the things I find myself wondering about.
Kyung was a very complex character who had terrible things happen to him his entire life, but especially in the time period the book focuses on. The awful violent act that happened near the beginning of the book was quite shocking and set the tone for a very heart wrenching and stunning story.
This book really grabbed my attention and brought up some important topics like what are our obligations to our family and what could possibly affect that. I found myself wondering what I would do if I found myself in a similar situation and found it almost impossible to contemplate properly.
The story had everything, many dark moments, some funny ones and the ending absolutely shocked me. I have not stopped thinking about this book since I read it to be honest. I found it resonated with a very brutal honesty that made it stand out from any other book that I have read in the past while and think it may even rate as my favourite.
Thank you to Picador for our review copy. All opinions are our own.
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