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O Beautiful: A Novel (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

An incredibly powerful and timely book set in a small North Dakotan town that's in the middle of an oil boom. Yun turns this small town into a condensed version of America. It felt like a modern gold rush novel. Totally brilliant. 

— From Becky's Picks


Jung Yun's O Beautiful is a "mesmerizing and timely" (New York Times) novel about a woman trying to come to terms with the ghosts of her past and the tortured realities of a deeply divided America.

Elinor Hanson is struggling to reinvent herself as a freelance writer when she receives an unexpected assignment, 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 returns to a landscape she hardly recognizes, overrun by tens of thousands of newcomers. Surrounded by roughnecks seeking their fortunes in oil and long-time residents worried about their changing community, Elinor experiences a profound sense of alienation and grief. The longer she pursues this potentially career-altering assignment, the more her past intertwines with the story she’s trying to tell, revealing disturbing new realities that will forever change her and the way she looks at the world.

With graceful prose, Jung Yun's O Beautiful presents an immersive portrait of a community rife with tensions and competing interests, and one woman’s attempts to reconcile her anger with her love of a beautiful, but troubled land.

About the Author

Jung Yun was born in Seoul, South Korea and grew up in Fargo, North Dakota. Her debut novel, Shelter was long-listed for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, and a semi-finalist for Good Reads’ Best Fiction Book of 2016. She was a MacDowell fellow, and her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and Tin House, among others. Currently, she resides in Baltimore, and serves as an assistant professor of English at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250853585
ISBN-10: 1250853583
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: February 28th, 2023
Pages: 336
Language: English