If I Had Your Face: A Novel

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Frances Cha on Thinking in Two Languages

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At the Kenyon Review, Frances Cha discusses the process behind writing her book If I Had Your Face, as she navigated two languages and audiences. “I do feel as if I am writing in translation,” Cha says, “but it is not a removed experience—even if I am speaking Korean in Korea, my thoughts are a mix of both languages, and so it doesn’t make much of a difference that I am writing in a different language from what I was speaking earlier . . . in the editing process I did take out quite a few Korean words because I felt that it took the non-Korean reader out of the suspension of disbelief, but in the writing of it, I wrote for myself and people like me.”

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