April 2016 Indie Next List
“Shelter is the perfect example of that extraordinary kind of story that careens down a path toward a conclusion that feels somehow both completely surprising and totally inevitable. Kyung Cho is a young father whose anxiety over present financial concerns couples with damage from past traumas to inhabit every breath he takes. His precarious equilibrium is shattered when his parents are the victims of a cruel act of violence and he is called upon to react with a compassion and forgiveness that he may not possess. This novel is a dark and moving portrait of a family and what it ultimately means to love.”
— Mary Cotton, Newtonville Books, Newton, MA
You can never know what goes on behind closed doors.
One of "The Millions'" Most Anticipated Books of the Year (Selected by Edan Lepucki)
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?
As "Shelter" veers swiftly toward its startling conclusion, Jung Yun leads us through dark and violent territory, where, unexpectedly, the Chos discover hope. "Shelter" is a masterfully crafted debut novel that asks what it means to provide for one's family and, in answer, delivers a story as riveting as it is profound.
About the Author
JUNG YUN was born in South Korea, grew up in North Dakota, and educated at Vassar College, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Her work has appeared in "Tin House" (the "Emerging Voices" issue); "The Best of Tin House: Stories, " edited by Dorothy Allison; and "The Massachusetts Review;" and she is a recipient of an honorable mention for the Pushcart Prize and an Artist's Fellowship in fiction from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. She lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband. "Shelter "is her first novel.