> Skip to content

Book clubs  •  1 October 2021

 

If I Had Your Face book club notes

A glitteringly dark and unsettling debut that's perfect for book club.

Frances Cha's debut has been described by Taylor Jenkins Reid as 'absolutely stunning... Assured, bold, and electrifying, If I Had Your Face marks the entrance of a bright new voice in fiction'. The novel 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. Find out for yourself why this book is getting rave reviews such as 'stunning', 'brilliant', 'remarkable' and 'gripping'.

Discussion points and questions:

  • What did you learn about Korean culture from this novel? What surprised you? How did the setting impact the story?
  • Why do you think the author chose to tell the story from multiple points of view? How did this impact your reading experience and connection to the characters?
  • Which character did you like the most and why?
  • Kyuri says ‘Even as a girl, I knew the only chance I had was to change my face.’ What role does she mean? What role does beauty play in this story? In what ways are beauty standards in Cha’s portrayal of Korea different or similar to those here in Australia?
  • Discuss how social class exists in this novel. How does it impact the relationships between characters? What do you think the author is trying to say about class mobility in Korea?
  • Why do you think Miho is so enthralled by Ruby? What types of cultural currency does Ruby have that the other women don’t, and how does this impact the trajectory of her life?
  • How does parenthood, particularly motherhood, factor into the story? How does the author push back at traditional notions of family?
  • When Miho finds out that Hanbin is cheating on her, she decides to use the relationship to benefit financially and enhance her reputation. What do you make of this? Do you think her choice is justified?
  • How does Cha explore Korean gender stereotypes, and how do they compare to those in Australia?
  • Looking at a photo of Woona’s baby toward the end of the book, Kyuri says ‘I understand what it would be like to think only about tomorrow, instead of just today.’ Where do you think each character ends up after the novel ends? What would your hopes for them be?

 


If I Had Your Face Frances Cha

A glitteringly dark and unsettling debut novel set in the drinking dens and beauty salons of South Korea

Buy now
Buy now

More features

See all
Book clubs
The Paper Palace book club notes

A magnificent literary pick for book club.

Book clubs
A Slow Fire Burning book club notes

An exciting new thriller from the author of The Girl on the Train to discuss with your book club.

Article
Truth behind Reese's book club success

Everybody is raving about Reese Witherspoon's book club — here are the reasons for its success.

Article
Books for when you need a good cry

Grab a box of tissues because these books are sure to get the waterworks flowing.

Article
5 tips for buying the perfect Christmas gift

We all want to buy a gift friends and family will love unwrapping this Christmas. Here are five tips for picking a book they'll want to devour.

Article
The 3 crucial lockdown lessons from A Gentleman in Moscow

Can a life without luxury actually be the richest of all?

Article
5 ways to celebrate Love Your Bookshop Day

It's time to let your favourite bookshop know you love them. Here are some simple ways you can celebrate Love Your Bookshop Day.

Article
Audiobooks that perfectly match your favourite song

If you've worn out your favourite song perhaps it's time to switch to an audiobook that matches the mood of your best-loved banger.

Article
The 2021 Booker Prize shortlist revealed

The shortlist for the 2021 Booker Prize has been announced, with four Penguin Random House novels named.

Article
Simple reading hacks for time-poor dads

Two authors — who are also dads — share their tips on how fathers can get a moment to themselves.

Article
The top books for dad this Father's Day

Show them you know them by picking a book that perfectly matches your dad.

Article
The habit that can lift your mood in just six minutes

There is one act that will help lift your mood in just minutes as we prepare to enter the new spring season.

Looking for more book club notes?

See all book club notes