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Vatican newspaper pays tribute to Korean, Hungarian authors

July 29, 2011

In recent days, L’Osservatore Romano has paid tribute to two novelists: Ágota Kristóf (1935-2011), who died on July 27, and Shin Kyung-sook (born 1963), the author of the international bestseller Please Look after Mom.

“Hungarian by birth, Swiss by adoption and French in her writings,” Kristóf fled her native land during the Soviet invasion of 1956 and “arrived with all of the psychological and moral desperation of a daughter of a shocking and pitiful experience, full of the devouring nostalgia of the exile and the radical breakdown of values of a civilization devastated by war and misery.”

Please Look after Mom, writes Giulia Galeotti,

has been a clamorous success: two million copies sold in South Korea, where the writer was born in 1963; 100,000 copies sold in the United States in the first printing. “I wanted to show,” said Kyung-Sook Shin, “that the mother is, yes, a point of strength, the root of the family, but is also fragile and sensitive.” The narration happens on two levels which intersect continually, giving life to a rich, final tapestry.


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