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If I Had Your Face: A Novel
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Published:
Random House Publishing Group 2020
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Description

A riveting debut novel set in contemporary Seoul, Korea, about four young women making their way in a world defined by impossible standards of beauty, after-hours room salons catering to wealthy men, ruthless social hierarchies, and K-pop mania

“Powerful and provocative . . . a novel about female strength, spirit, resilience—and the solace that friendship can sometimes provide.”—The Washington Post
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Time, NPR, Esquire, Bustle, BBC, New York Post, InStyle

Kyuri is an achingly beautiful woman with a hard-won job at a Seoul “room salon,” an exclusive underground bar where she entertains businessmen while they drink. Though she prides herself on her cold, clear-eyed approach to life, an impulsive mistake threatens her livelihood.
 
Kyuri’s roommate, Miho, is a talented artist who grew up in an orphanage but won a scholarship to study art in New York. Returning to Korea after college, she finds herself in a precarious relationship with the heir to one of the country’s biggest conglomerates.
 
Down the hall in their building lives Ara, a hairstylist whose two preoccupations sustain her: an obsession with a boy-band pop star, and a best friend who is saving up for the extreme plastic surgery that she hopes will change her life.
 
And Wonna, one floor below, is a newlywed trying to have a baby that she and her husband have no idea how they can afford to raise in Korea’s brutal economy.
 
Together, their stories tell a gripping tale at once unfamiliar and unmistakably universal, in which their tentative friendships may turn out to be the thing that ultimately saves them.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
04/21/2020
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780593129470
ASIN:
B07VR8GFHR

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Citations

APA Citation (style guide)

Frances Cha. (2020). If I Had Your Face: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Frances Cha. 2020. If I Had Your Face: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Frances Cha, If I Had Your Face: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group, 2020.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Frances Cha. If I Had Your Face: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group, 2020.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.

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Grouped Work ID:
3109dd8e-2a88-4088-bbd2-cc178f63404b
Go To Grouped Work
Needs Update?:
No
Date Added:
Apr 22, 2020 11:24:53
Date Updated:
Oct 24, 2021 06:15:10
Last Metadata Check:
Jun 19, 2024 07:27:51
Last Metadata Change:
Jun 12, 2024 13:42:26
Last Availability Check:
Jun 19, 2024 07:27:54
Last Availability Change:
Jun 12, 2024 13:42:30
Last Grouped Work Modification Time:
Jun 20, 2024 03:13:49

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title
If I Had Your Face
fullDescription
A riveting debut novel set in contemporary Seoul, Korea, about four young women making their way in a world defined by impossible standards of beauty, after-hours room salons catering to wealthy men, ruthless social hierarchies, and K-pop mania

“Powerful and provocative . . . a novel about female strength, spirit, resilience—and the solace that friendship can sometimes provide.”—The Washington Post
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Time, NPR, Esquire, Bustle, BBC, New York Post, InStyle

Kyuri is an achingly beautiful woman with a hard-won job at a Seoul “room salon,” an exclusive underground bar where she entertains businessmen while they drink. Though she prides herself on her cold, clear-eyed approach to life, an impulsive mistake threatens her livelihood.
 
Kyuri’s roommate, Miho, is a talented artist who grew up in an orphanage but won a scholarship to study art in New York. Returning to Korea after college, she finds herself in a precarious relationship with the heir to one of the country’s biggest conglomerates.
 
Down the hall in their building lives Ara, a hairstylist whose two preoccupations sustain her: an obsession with a boy-band pop star, and a best friend who is saving up for the extreme plastic surgery that she hopes will change her life.
 
And Wonna, one floor below, is a newlywed trying to have a baby that she and her husband have no idea how they can afford to raise in Korea’s brutal economy.
 
Together, their stories tell a gripping tale at once unfamiliar and unmistakably universal, in which their tentative friendships may turn out to be the thing that ultimately saves them.
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        February 15, 2020
        A disturbing look at the unrealistic beauty standards placed on Korean women. Cha's timely debut deftly explores the impact of impossible beauty standards and male-dominated family money on South Korean women. Kyuri, Miho, Ara, and Sujin are two sets of working-class roommates who befriend each other, and Wonna is a married woman who lives on a different floor of the same apartment complex in Seoul. All are struggling financially. As Wonna laments, "Unless you are born into a chaebol family or your parents were the fantastically lucky few who purchased land in Gangnam decades ago, you have to work and work and work for a salary that isn't even enough to buy a house...." Because of Kyuri's successful plastic surgeries, men hire her to be their companion at after-work "room salons," giving her an enviable stock of designer purses and spending money. Sujin is saving up for surgery to attain the same face as Kyuri, but Cha shows how all the women are impacted by these standards. Ara's work as a hairdresser makes her literally invested in part of the beauty industry, and even though artist Miho hopes her talent will allow her to rise on her own, she finds herself dependent on the whims of a wealthy boyfriend. At times, the voices of the many characters can blur and the timeline can be confusing. Wonna is the least developed character and interacts with the others only in a plot twist at the end of the book. However, taken together, Cha's empathetic portraits allow readers to see the impact of economic inequity, entrenched classism, and patriarchy on her hard-working characters' lives. Cha grew up in the United States, South Korea, and Hong Kong and is a former Seoul-based culture and travel editor for CNN. Multifaceted portraits of working women in Seoul reveal the importance of female friendships amid inequality.

        COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        February 24, 2020
        Cha shines a light on the lives of four young women living in the same Seoul, South Korea, apartment building in her winning debut. In alternating chapters, each woman narrates her difficulties and offers insight on the others. Ara, a hair stylist who lost the ability to speak after a violent attack, is obsessed with a pop star. Kyuri, who undergoes plastic surgery to make her face resemble a member of a popular girl band, holds a coveted job in a “room salon” pouring drinks for men, and has become dangerously enamored of one of her wealthy clients. Miho, Kyuri’s roommate, an up-and-coming artist, strives to balance devotion to her work with a relationship to her unfaithful, ultra-rich boyfriend. Wonna, who was physically abused by the grandmother who raised her, is desperate to keep her pregnancy despite her husband’s uncertain finances. Cha navigates the obstacles of her characters’ lives with ease and heartbreaking realism, showing the lengths these women are willing to go to pursue their dreams in a country where they are told they “do not live for tomorrow.” This is an insightful, powerful story from a promising new voice.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from March 1, 2020
        As former travel and culture editor for CNN in Seoul, U.S.-Hong Kong-South Korea-raised and Brooklyn-domiciled Cha writes exactingly of what she knows in her first novel. With unblinking focus, she confronts some of the darkest consequences of contemporary gender inequity by targeting the erasure of female individuality by oppressive beauty standards and expectations. Behind Korea's internationally coveted imports?especially K-dramas and K-pop?is an obsession with plastic surgery, complicated by one of the world's lowest birth rates and one of the highest suicide rates. Into that unforgiving society, Cha's magnificent tale introduces the women of Color House, an ironically all-gray Seoul apartment building. Four of its inhabitants take turns revealing their intertwined lives: hair stylist Ara, who lives with beauty-obsessed Sujin; their glamorous neighbor, Kyuri, who works in a room salon, where men spend substantially to drink with the city's most beautiful women, and where Sujin hopes for an introduction post-metamorphosis; Kyuri's roommate, Miho, whose art earned her an NYC education and relationship with an �ber-wealthy heir; and pregnant Wonna, who married the first and perhaps only kind man she's ever known and who hopes she doesn't lose another baby. Despite a society designed to stifle, these women manage to nurture mutual bonds for strength and survival.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

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shortDescription
A riveting debut novel set in contemporary Seoul, Korea, about four young women making their way in a world defined by impossible standards of beauty, after-hours room salons catering to wealthy men, ruthless social hierarchies, and K-pop mania

“Powerful and provocative . . . a novel about female strength, spirit, resilience—and the solace that friendship can sometimes provide.”—The Washington Post
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Time, NPR, Esquire, Bustle, BBC, New York Post, InStyle

Kyuri is an achingly beautiful woman with a hard-won job at a Seoul “room salon,” an exclusive underground bar where she entertains businessmen while they drink. Though she prides herself on her cold, clear-eyed approach to life, an impulsive mistake threatens her livelihood.
 
Kyuri’s roommate, Miho, is a talented artist who grew up in an orphanage but won a...
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