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If I Had Your Face cover art

If I Had Your Face

By: Frances Cha
Narrated by: Frances Cha,Sue Jean Kim,Ruthie Ann Miles,Jeena Yi
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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

If I Had Your Face plunges us into the mesmerising world of contemporary Seoul - a place where extreme plastic surgery is as routine as getting a haircut, where women compete for spots in secret 'room salons' to entertain wealthy businessmen after hours, where K-Pop stars are the object of all-consuming obsession and ruthless social hierarchies dictate your every move.

Navigating this cutthroat city are four young women balancing on the razor edge of survival: Kyuri, an exquisitely beautiful woman whose hard-won status at an exclusive 'room salon' is threatened by an impulsive mistake with a client; her flatmate, Miho, an orphan who wins a scholarship to a prestigious art school in New York, where her life becomes tragically enmeshed with the super-wealthy offspring of the Korean elite; Wonna, their neighbour, pregnant with a child that she and her husband have no idea how they will afford to raise in a fiercely competitive economy; and Ara, a hair stylist living down the hall, whose infatuation with a fresh-faced K-Pop star drives her to violent extremes.

©2020 Frances Cha (P)2020 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about If I Had Your Face

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Vivid and engaging

The chapters provide vivid insight into each character’s inner world. Highly engaging and a story of female friendships and bravery in the core.

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3 people found this helpful

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Excellent writing and characterisation

This story will stay with me for a while and I can’t wait to read Frances’ next offering. It’s a stunning debut.

I winced in parts. in others I was laughing and there were tears.

I enjoy Korean cinema and this is my first taste of their literature. Frances’ writing is gracefully sensual - I felt I was there at the party in New York with Miho, at Ara’s parents lowly bunker taking in the bereft decor, shoulder to shoulder with Kyuri at the salon with the groping disgusting customers.

After reading this story I now understand the harshness of life for Korean women who bear the double weight of Korean cultural pressures and the burden of patriarchy manifested in the unrealistic beauty standards they feel they must live up to and sometimes die for.

I’m still of two minds about surgery and cosmetic procedures but at least as an Australian woman I have a choice whereas it seems to me before and after reading this book that the young women of Korea do not.

Beautifully read and performed.

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2 people found this helpful

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Not at all what I was expecting ...

... however, it was much, much better. This was a slice of life/culture read I had very little knowledge about. As an avid armchair traveller my entire life, this is the sort of detail I always wish to glean from a destination. it was also the sort of information I expected from history lessons and instead frustratingly found history to be an endless, tedious catalogue of war, and war and wars and battles, and wars. As a contemporary spotlight on modern South Korea and (to a 'Westerner's' way of thinking) the deplorable state of affairs for many of South Korea's women, this was a most revealing insight. Four characters beautifully interwoven and skilfully narrated. Another reviewer states that "nothing much happens." This is both true and false. If you are looking for a highly familiar trope and story arch with a dramatic climax, or reveal, or bringing together of the four lives, you are not going to get that. This is more descriptive and flowing yet comfortably familiar. I found it engaged me from the very first chapter. There is satisfying development within the lookback scenes, which take the key moments from the girls'/womens' lives to flesh out their current situation and motivations. It did leave me wanting much more. I was bereft at having to leave the girls and their world, which is praise for the book, not criticism. All in all a very enjoyable and highly recommendable read.

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loved it!

fascinating & devastating glimpse into contemporary korean society, in a brilliantly deadpan tone. finished in 2 sessions, i was hooked.

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It was Ok

An interesting look into Korean culture but I couldn't say anything of note that actually happened.

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