"Competence can be a curse."
So begins Min Jin Lee's epic novel about class, society, and identity. Casey Han's four years at Princeton have given her many things-"a refined diction, an enviable golf handicap, a popular white boyfriend, an agnostic's closeted passion for reading the Bible, and a magna cum laude degree in economics, but no job and a number of bad habits.
Casey's parents, who live in Queens, are Korean immigrants working at a dry cleaner, desperately trying to hold on to their culture and identity. Their daughter, on the other hand,m has entered into the upper echelon of rarefied American society via scholarships. But after graduation, while Casey's trust-fund friends see only opportunity and choices, Casey sees the reality of having expensive habits without the means to sustain them. As Casey navigates Manhattan, we see her life and the lives of those around her-her sheltered mother and scarred father, her friend Ella's ambitious Korean husband and his Causcasian mistress, Casey's white fiance, and then her Korean boyfriend-culminate in a portrait of NYC and its worlds of haves and have nots.