Shelter

3.73 based on 2260 ratings & 467 reviews on Goodreads.com
Picador

Publication date: 06.04.2017
ISBN: 9781509810529
Number of pages: 336

Synopsis

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

The combination of grisly James Patterson thriller and melancholic suburban drama shouldn't work at all. Yet Ms. Yun pulls it off. Kyung is petulant and unlikeable, but he's also psychologically unstable. The proximity of his parents and the atmosphere of grief and panic launch him on a spiral of self-destruction that's impossible to turn away from. The novel grows darker and darker, until all its internal contradictions are eclipsed by an ending as disturbing and bereft as anything you'll read this year.
Wall Street Journal
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
A fluidly written debut novel that explores violence and its effects on one immigrant family . . . [A] layered, sometimes surprising debut . . . A diverse and nuanced cast of characters seeks shelter from pain and loneliness in this valiant portrayal of contemporary American life.
Kirkus Reviews