Synopses & Reviews
In The Undertaking of Lily Chen, Deshi, a hapless young man living in northern China, is suddenly expelled from ordinary life when his brother dies in an accident. Holding Deshi responsible for his brothers death, his parents send him on a mission to acquire a corpse bride to accompany his brother into the afterlife, in accordance with an ancient Chinese tradition that has many modern adherents. Eligible dead girls are in short supply, however. When Deshi falls into company with a young--and single--woman named Lily, he sees a solution to his problems. The only hitch is that willful, tart-tongued Lily is still very much alive. As Deshi and Lily adventure through a breathtaking mountain landscape, meeting a host of eccentric characters and dangerous adversaries along the way, Deshi just cant decide whether to kiss the girl or to kill her.
Danica Novgorodoff, author of Slow Storm and Refresh, Refresh, brings her distinctive voice and gorgeous, moody watercolors to this wry, beautiful, and surprising literary graphic novel.
"This vivid comic opens with a quote from the Economist describing the resurgence of 'ghost marriages' in rural China, in which parents of dead men seek out the corpses of women so that their sons aren't buried alone, sometimes even going as far as murder. After Deshi's brother Wei is killed in a freak accident (an accident that their parents hold Deshi responsible for), he sets off to find a bride for Wei with the help of a corpse hunter. Striking out in graveyards and hospitals, Deshi eventually meets a woman named Lily Chen whom he resolves to kill, but his plans soon go awry. Humorous aspects of the story, including a motorcycle catching fire and a runaway donkey, don't always fit in with the exploration of Deshi's conflicted pursuit of Lily, both as a potential victim and as a potential wife. Novgordoff uses a flat visual style that gives the characters an iconic feeling as she captures the tensions between new and old traditions in Chinese society. Although the book is uneven, the story is striking and unusual overall." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"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 Praise for The Undertaking of Lily Chen: "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
In The Undertaking of Lily Chen
, Deshi, a young man struggling to make a life for himself in rural China, watches his life comes unhinged when he accidentally kills his older brother in a fight. His distraught parents send him on a hopeless journey to acquire a bride for his brother to marry posthumously so he doesn't enter the next world alone—an ancient Chinese tradition with many modern adherents. Eligible female corpses are in short supply, however. When Deshi falls into company with a beautiful, angry, and single young woman named Lily, he sees a solution to his problems. The only hitch is Lily is still very much alive. Danica Novgorodoff, author of Slow Storm
and Refresh, Refresh
, brings her distinctive voice and gorgeous, moody watercolors to this wry, beautiful, and surprising literary graphic novel.
About the Author
Danica Novgorodoff is a painter, writer, graphic designer and horse wrangler from Kentucky. Her graphic novels Slow Storm (2008) and Refresh, Refresh (included in Best American Comics 2011), were published by First Second. Her most recent graphic novel is The Undertaking of Lily Chen, also published by First Second. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.