After its release over a decade ago in South Korea, the immediate success of Kyung-Sook Shin’s Please Look After Mom sets high expectations for contemporary readers. The novel precedes its reputation as it evokes universal feelings of nostalgia and guilt through its relatable premise: dealing with the grief of the love you never get to share. Please Look After Mom sold over a million copies within 10 months of its release in South Korea, and continued to achieve critical success after its translation to English in 2011.
Trigger warning for the book: domestic violence
David Szalay’s Turbulence started out as a series of short radio stories for the BBC. The slim 160-page novel circles the world; each chapter title consists of two airport codes (such as LAX, YYZ, SEA, DHA, and DEL) which sets the scene for where the novel will travel next. Each chapter is awarded its own protagonist, who is introduced in its preceding section, allowing the novel to be read as a collection of briefly linked short stories. Still, the compact chapters do not detract from the relatability of their struggles, as each of them face some form of turbulence.