Samuel Park, of Korean descent, was born in Brazil and raised in southern California. His protagonist in The Caregiver is Mara Alencar, born in Brazil and living as an adult in southern California. There is one other intersection, as well. More on that later.
The novel opens in Bel Air, California in the early 1990s when Mara is a twenty-six year old caregiver to Kathryn Weatherly, a forty-four year old divorced woman with no children who’s fighting stomach cancer. Mara lives with fellow Brazilian ex-pats Renata and Bruno in the “not-so-nice part of Hollywood, close to the 101 freeway.” Renata has her Green Card. Mara and Bruno do not.