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The Undertaking of Lily Chen Paperback – March 25, 2014
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For a limited time, get one of 100 best-selling Marvel graphic novels on Kindle with the purchase of a hardcover or paperback graphic novel. Read it in Guided View on Kindle or comiXology! Offer expires June 16, 2017. Restrictions apply. See Terms and Conditions.
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*Starred Review* In contemporary China, Deshi accidentally kills his older brother, Wei, by shoving him in front of a moving jeep, and his furious mother, calling on the ancient tradition of ghost marriage, demands that he find the unmarried Wei a corpse bride, a recently deceased single woman who will accompany him in the afterlife. Guilt-ridden Deshi seeks the help of a matchmaker, a grave robber, and a hospital attendant before he runs into stubborn, spirited Lily, who would make a perfect bride if she weren’t so alive. Is Deshi prepared to commit murder to fulfill his mother’s request? Or will he find a way to give his parents some peace while preserving his own happiness? Novgorodoff’s exaggerated, cartoonish figures appear against spare, inky backgrounds resembling traditional Chinese landscape paintings, as if history and heritage loom over Deshi and Lily as they make their way forward to their futures. Deshi’s grief and guilt, meanwhile, are hauntingly, gorgeously rendered in smoky, aqueous watercolor washes, which subtly suggest a gaping mouth and face hovering over Lily and spilling between panels. It’s a simple, darkly comic story, but Novgorodoff’s artful juxtaposition of traditional and contemporary imagery elevates it to eloquently echo a deeper, all-encompassing tension between past and progress. --Sarah Hunter
“This stunning and intriguing graphic novel takes the reader on a brother's journey to find a bride for his deceased sibling . . . Everything about this graphic novel is striking. It is not easily forgotten.” ―VOYA
“If you haven't read any of Danica Novgorodoff's books, you're missing out.” ―USA Today
“Beautiful, haunting, and utterly human.” ―Gene Luen Yang, author of American Born Chinese
“A vast, dangerous tale… Novgorodoff has created a world filled with ghosts, regrets, dreams, and love.” ―Brian Selznick, author of The Invention of Hugo Cabret
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Top Customer Reviews
And this is a very satisfying novel - one that will be returned to again.
It begins from an Economist quote and ends, well... there's a mule in the middle, the art is never the same but somehow always connected -- just check it out. This book is sublime.
I liked the art in this. It's a pretty unique style in regards to how the people are drawn, but the scenery is what really got to me. There are some absolutely stunning full-page scenery pictures in here that I would love to be able to purchase as full-size posters. The story had really great potential. It revolves around a man named Deshi, whose brother Wei dies in an accident. Deshi's parents want him to find a dead girl to serve as a "corpse bride" for Wei so he won't be alone in the afterlife. Deshi sets out to complete his mission, but it turns out dead young women are few and far between in his neck of the woods. In fact, the only young woman to be found at all is Lily Chen, and she is still very much alive...
But no matter how much potential the story had, I think it just fell flat. I didn't get a ton of character development out of this, and some of the stuff, from the romance to the ending, just seemed to come out of nowhere. This book is also Lord of the Rings-esque, and not in a good way; there is a lot of walking, without anything else much happening for much of the book.
Overall, I was disappointed. I think I might have loved this if it had been written as a prose book, but as a graphic novel it just didn't capture me the way I thought it would.
2 stars out of 5.