A former journalist turned stay-at-home mother ventures into the dark underbelly of Seoul, South Korea, to find her missing husband and protect her children in this gripping, page-turning exploration of the lengths one woman will go to unveil hard truths.
Sae is waiting with two clingy toddlers for her husband to come home from work when she learns of a horrific disaster, the collapse of a massive skyscraper where Jae is an engineer. Minutes, then hours, and then days pass. Speculations of North Korean terrorism and structural instability circulate as possible causes of the Tower's collapse. No one has seen Jae, but things aren't adding up. Jae had told Sae he was working on a swimming pool on the top floor, but reports showed he was in the basement, on a different project. The government was involved, but the contractors were missing. Sae--who met Jae when they were students at an anti-government protest and has relied on him as her guiding and steadying hand--is troubled and suspicious.
Leaving the children with her estranged mother, Sae sets out to uncover the truth of what happened to her husband. Her investigation takes her to an upscale club where the proprietor, Myonghee, is not merely supplying booze and girls but also seeking information, for her own purposes, from every drunken businessman who lets corporate secrets slip. As Sae begins to find what she sought, she must ask herself: How well can you truly know the one you love and how is truth shaped by power?
Hannah Michell grew up in Seoul. She studied anthropology and philosophy at Cambridge University and now lives in California with her husband and children. She teaches in the Asian American and Asian Disapora Studies Program at the University of California, Berkeley.