Shelter is a well-constructed, slow-paced novel that focuses on one family’s painful secrets and the tragic event that forces truths to be revealed. It’s also about forgiveness (wanting it and denying it), pride, resentment, and regret.
I love flawed characters, and this book did not disappoint. There’s Kyung, son of Jin and Mae, who’s a miserable shell of a person. His terrible attitude toward, well…everything, drove me nuts at first. But as I learned about his parents’ relationship and his upbringing, I began to feel sorry for him. This does not mean I didn’t still dislike him and the way he treated his wife and son, but I understood why he is the way he is. I can’t say much about Jin’s and Mae’s flaws without giving away why Kyung is so messed up, but their missteps as parents made me sad. Perhaps this is a horrible thing to say, but part of me felt like the tragic thing that happened to them was a bit karmic.
If you like fast-paced novels with a lot of WOW moments, this might not be the best choice for you. And if you want to read something that will leave you feeling cheery, you might want to hold off on reading this one. But if you enjoy a well-written piece of literary fiction that unfolds steadily and don’t mind a sad (yet slightly hopeful) ending, then this might be the book for you.
RATING: 4 STARS
*Many thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy via NetGalley.