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The Undertaking of Lily Chen Paperback – March 25, 2014
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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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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.