3.73 based on 3018 ratings & 604 reviews on

Publication date: 02.06.2016
ISBN: 9781509810536
Number of pages: 0


You never know what goes on behind closed doors.

Kyung Cho owns a house that he can't afford. Despite his promising career as a tenure-track professor, he and his wife, Gillian, have always lived beyond their means. Now their 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 neighbourhood. Growing up, they gave Kyung every possible advantage - expensive hobbies, private tutors - 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 decides to take them in. For the first time in years, the Chos find themselves under the same roof where tensions quickly mount and old resentments rise to the surface.

As Shelter veers swiftly towards its startling conclusion, Jung Yun leads us through dark and violent territory, where, unexpectedly, the Chos discover hope. In the tradition of House of Sand and Fog and The Ice Storm, Shelter is a masterfully crafted first novel that asks what it means to provide for one's family and, in answer, delivers a story as riveting as it is profound.

In the media

It seems as though every year a novel - and its author - appears out of nowhere and gets readers everywhere talking. This year that book is Shelter, by Korean American writer Jung Yun.
South China Morning Post
Gripping . . . Yun shows how, although shelter doesn't guarantee safety and blood doesn't guarantee love, there's something inextricable about the relationship between a child and a parent . . . We may each respond in our own way, but I'll go ahead and assume that a good amount of folks, regardless of the pain they may have experienced from bad mothers and fathers, and regardless of cultural traditions, will feel the pull to help save their parents. "Shelter" is captivating in chronicling this story.
New York Times
A history of violence lurks behind the walls of the Korean-American family in Jung Yun's Shelter. Kyung Cho is a biology professor who lives in the suburbs with his wife Gillian and young child. Haunted by spiralling debt, the family risks losing their house. Meanwhile his ageing parents are rich beyond anything their son could hope for, but they cared more about money than love, and Kyung grew up desperately unhappy. When Kyung's mother turns up naked and battered in the backyard, and his parents are no longer able to live on their own, he reluctantly takes them in. The reversal of fortune leads to dramatic and surprising revelations, dissecting questions of familial duty, betrayal and forgiveness. Jung Yun's Shelter weaves an intricately plotted intergenerational drama, delivered in cool spare prose.
Sydney Morning Herald