"Elinor Hanson, a forty-something former model, is struggling to reinvent herself as a freelance writer when she receives an unexpected assignment. Her mentor from grad school offers her a chance to write for a prestigious magazine about the Bakken oil boom in North Dakota. Elinor grew up near the Bakken, raised by an overbearing father and a distant Korean mother who met and married when he was stationed overseas. After decades away from home, Elinor...
"Kyung Cho's home is worth less money than he owes. A tenure-track professor, he and his wife, Gillian, have always lived beyond their means. Now their decisions have caught up with them, and Kyung is anxious for his family's future: all he wants is to provide the home that was denied him, to their son. Not that he ever wanted for pleasing things -- his father moved the family from Korea, and made good money engineering patents for the university...
"Homesick and alone, a teen-aged girl arrives in Seoul to work in a factory. Her family, still in the countryside, is too impoverished to keep sending her to school, so she works long days on a stereo-assembly line, struggling through night school every evening in order to achieve her dream of becoming a writer"