At twenty-six, Cora Moon remains haunted by tragedy: ten years earlier, her friend plunged to her death from the rooftop of a building. Compelled to act out the drama of the past, Cora Moon returns to the scene of the suicide, staying in a friend’s apartment in the same building, marking off the days of her scheduled denouement.
Pursuing a torrid, impetuous affair with a strange man in the building, Cora Moon prepares psychologically for the appointed day, meanwhile making peace with her short history, reliving the days of youthful exuberance, her involvement with the “Queens of K-Town.”
Moving to New York from California, Cora Moon is unable to find a comfortable niche, still struggling with her mother’s abandonment of the family. In Tokyo to care for an aging parent, the mother remains in communication with her family, but her two daughters and husband are barely able to manage, Cora Moon acting out a natural rebelliousness, her younger sister already far too wise for her years.
Steeped in her parents’ cultural past in Korea and her own generation’s complex adjustments to a country in which she forever remains “other”, Cora Moon has fallen in love, finally, with her own projected destiny, embraced by three new friends she clings to during that troubling summer.
Once Cora Moon has fallen under Bev’s spell, she is easily seduced by the rest of the group, Mina and Soo Young. Cora Moon the welcome fourth of the obstreperous quartet, the girls make nightly rounds of the clubs in Korea Town near Manhattan, partying late into the night.
With Bev as their putative leader, the girls throw themselves into an otherworldly existence, as though there were no tomorrow and their wildness will not have consequences. By virtue of her age and circumstances, Cora Moon is the most vulnerable, sorely missing the mother she would turn to for advice, especially when foolish acts catch up with the girls one “morning after.”
Tied briefly to these young women at a critical time in her life, Cora Moon is caught unprepared to face the consequences of their impulsivity, the brief, heady power of their adventures quickly turned to dust when confronted with reality. Seeking a definition of self, Cora Moon finds only more confusion, clinging to the cultural identity her new friends provide, but left alone to face her fate.
The author captures the essence of teen angst and cultural disassociation in an edgy and provocative treatment of a tragedy that haunts a young woman until she faces the extent of her participation and her grief. Unable to come to terms with either the past or the present, Cora Moon bravely faces her fear, the greatest obstacle to a more fulfilling future.