Outside the market you saw two people cutting apart a fish that was as big as a sedan. You asked if it was tuna, since it was so large, but the vendor said it was an ocean sunfish. You were reminded of a character in a book whose title you couldn’t remember. She was from a seaside town, and she would go to the huge aquarium in the city every time she had a problem, to talk to the ocean sunfish swimming inside. She would complain that her mother took all her life savings and went off with a younger man to a different city, but then, at the end, would say, But I miss my mom; you’re the only one I can tell this to, sunfish! You wondered if that was the same fish.
– Kyung-sook Shin
Please Look After Mom by Kyung-sook Shin sold close to a million and a half copies in South Korea, and is set to be published in 18 countries around the world. It’s the first of Shin’s books to be translated into English. My full review for Sunday’s New York Times Book Review is here.