Virtual Book Launch: If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha in conversation with Hannah Bae

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Advance Praise for IF I HAD YOUR FACE


“[A] powerful and provocative rendering of contemporary South Korean society, one that might be considered bleak if not for the women themselves, who occasionally surprise with their compassion and bravery. At heart, If I Had Your Face is a novel about female strength, spirit, resilience — and the solace that friendship can sometimes provide.” —Washington Post


Magnificent . . . With unblinking focus, [Cha] confronts some of the darkest consequences of contemporary gender inequity.” —Booklist (starred review!)


This is an insightful, powerful story from a promising new voice . . . Cha navigates the obstacles of her characters’ lives with ease and heartbreaking realism.” —Publishers Weekly


Absolutely stunning. Assured, bold, and electrifying, If I Had Your Face marks the entrance of a bright new voice in fiction."—Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six


“Each voice in this quartet cuts through the pages so cleanly and clearly that the overall effect is one of dangerously glittering harmony. The tale told here is as engrossing as a war chant, or a mosaic formed with blades, every piece a memento sharpened on those unyielding barriers between us and our ideal lives.”—Helen Oyeyemi, author of Gingerbread


Troubling, kaleidoscopic, and hugely enjoyable.”—Nell Zink, author of Mislaid


“Few American novelists know Seoul the way Frances Cha does and in her intimate, panoramic debut, she brings that dazzling city to life. There are voices here you haven't heard before. . .An enthralling read from the very first page."—Ed Park, author of Personal Days



“A provoking, ultimately inspiring tale of women pushing back against oppressive customs both traditional and new. Frances Cha, like her quartet of narrators, has a rebel’s heart.”—Jonathan Dee, author of The Locals


“It’s difficult to believe this is Frances Cha’s first novel—she’s a masterful storyteller. I couldn’t put If I Had Your Face down; I was riveted by the stories of four young women navigating life in the extreme, competitive environment of modern Seoul. I loved reading about a world I knew nothing about, and from the first page, it was clear Cha was the best possible guide. I highly recommend this novel.”Ann Napolitano, author of Dear Edward


With graceful precision, unflinching honesty, and intimate compassion Frances Cha writes, in exacting detail, of the desperation and dreams of five young women in modern-day Korea. Their dreams are grandly superficial, profoundly sad and, they believe, within reach. Their desperation is sharply realized by the deprivation, cruelty, violence, agony and, worst of all, the inevitability of their lives. A haunting novel of intelligence and sensitivity, If I Had Your Face is sure to leave an indelible mark on your heart and in your mind.”—Binnie Kirshenbaum, author of Rabbits for Food


About the Book:

In IF I HAD YOUR FACE, four women who all live in the same apartment building are trying to make their way in a world defined by impossibly high standards of beauty, secret room salons catering to wealthy men, strict social hierarchies, and K-pop fan mania. Kyuri is impossibly beautiful, having undergone multiple plastic surgery procedures to procure a coveted spot working at one of Seoul’s “room salons,” where wealthy men pay to spend the evening hanging out with gorgeous women. Miho, her roommate, is a talented artist with a too-good-to-be-true boyfriend. Ara, a hairstylist with an all-consuming obsession with a K-Pop boy band star and a haunting past, lives down the hall. Finally, there is Wonna, trapped in an unhappy marriage and trying desperately to get pregnant with a child she’s not sure she can afford. Faced with heartbreak, overwhelming stress, and an ever-growing pressure to fit in, these women find that their tentative bonds might just be all each other has in this world.

Cha brings the city to life in both its triumphs and its challenges. South Korea is a country of superlatives: the world’s most wired country, highest smartphone penetration, and most plastic surgery per capita, among many more. Cha herself grew up in Seoul, and this background weaves its way through the novel, creating a story that is as compelling as it is poignant. She says, “My book is about a group of young women in Korea – mostly orphans who grew up in the provinces and moved to Seoul the first chance they get. They are hustling to stay afloat in a very fast, competitive and glamorous society, and without any connections or academic standing, their currency is often beauty. They dream of beauty and money and nurse wistful longings of love that they cannot take for granted because they are used to having no one. They have ambitions both small and large, and are very practical about how to obtain beauty as their means of survival, while their loyalty to each other is where they derive the most comfort.”

IF I HAD YOUR FACE is at once a tribute to female friendships, a probing look at the cutthroat standards of Seoul, and an exploration of the difficulties all young women must confront.

About the Author:

Frances Cha is a former travel and culture editor for CNN in Seoul. She grew up in the United States, Hong Kong, and South Korea. A graduate of Dartmouth College and the Columbia University MFA writing program, she has written for The Atlantic, The Believer, and Yonhap News, among other publications, and has lectured at Columbia University, Ewha University, Seoul National University, and Yonsei University. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two daughters. If I Had Your Face is her first novel.


Event date: 
Friday, May 8, 2020 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
If I Had Your Face: A Novel Cover Image
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9780593129463
Published: Ballantine Books - April 21st, 2020

Author Photo: