'If I Had Your Face' by Alumna Frances Cha '11 Out with Random House

BY Audrey Deng, May 13, 2020

If I Had Your Face, a novel by alumna Frances Cha ’11, was published last month by Ballantine Books of Random House. The book has been on multiple must-read lists.

Cha’s debut novel is set in contemporary Seoul, Korea, and is 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.

A CNN book review describes the book as a cross between Parasite and Crazy Rich Asians. The review includes a very comprehensive interview with Cha, who talks about the plastic surgery industry in Korea and the meaning of beauty. Cha, whose past experience as a former travel and culture editor for CNN in Seoul, vibrantly brings the city and country to life. The Washington Post notes that “her excellent depiction of how difficult it is for young South Koreans to get ahead will probably resonate with American millennials and members of Gen-Z for whom homeownership, professional advancement, and a debt-free adulthood seems elusive, especially now.”

Janice Y.K. Lee, the author of The Piano Teacher, writes, "Make way for Frances Cha, an entrancing new voice who guides us into the complexities and contradictions of modern-day Seoul, a dissonant, neon world that is ripped open to bare the same universal and human challenges that face us all. I devoured this novel in a single sitting.”

Vogue U.K. praises If I Had Your Face, calling it "Searing . . . Essential reading in what Jia Tolentino memorably called the age of Instagram face."

Cha’s book is available for purchase here.