Jeanette's Reviews > Shelter

Shelter by Jung Yun
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Jung Yun knows one version of Tolstoy's "unhappy" families. This one is definitely "unhappy in its own way". And her writing is clear, and basically quite simple. This book churns emotions. Continually and deeply of those which in particular surround anguish, grief, and regret.

For me, it would have been a 4 star absolutely and this would be a much longer reaction, if the Part 3 NIGHT was omitted. The first parts were a vivid and dark scenario well served from 7 or 8 different perspectives, despite being seen through Kyung's thoughts and in majority conversations-words. But Part III was contrived, and beyond off-putting. And left the reader unsettled. Almost like knowing with certainty that there is an unseen poisonous snake somewhere in the room. That's the feeling she may have wanted to convey, but with these people drawn as they were- I felt it quite underwhelming. Not incomplete, just off.

Kyung's perceptions are well drawn. As are his wife's and his parents.

Kyung is one of those men who never grows up. And he knows well all the reasons. He could today and often list them from honed memory himself- while not forgetting any minutia about them for a moment.

Jung Yun has written a book that contains almost no hope of recompense for violent actions of small or huge degree. And sees neglect of interest within marriage or family or for a non-communication of authentic opinion an unforgivable void to bridge.

This is a sad story in the facts alone. But the sadness becomes amplified into the opposite of good intent, an almost evil self-involvement. The cultural aspects of dissimilar expectations and priorities did nothing to help the eventual resentful isolation and anger. It was more than a bad fit there, as well.

The last section did not match the psychological insight for the rest of the book's copy, IMHO.

All humans are not so delicate, nor are they incapable of "beginning in another way"- but this book paints a picture in which the tunnel's light has become extinguished for that route.

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Reading Progress

October 15, 2016 – Started Reading
October 15, 2016 – Shelved
October 16, 2016 –
page 74
22.7% "First thought was that "here goes another victim on 1000 different fronts story" but no, it is not. And the prose is excellent too with plot intriguing so far on top of it. Thumbs up!"
October 16, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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Diane S ☔ Wonderful review, Jeanette. Agree about the third part.


Jeanette Thanks, Diane. It's so very dark. And also accepting of the dark.


cameron Yes the last Third is disappointing.


Jeanette I just read another book that does this too, Pachinko. Sometimes I think some of the best moderns don't know when to end their tale.


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