Uncomfortably Happily

Uncomfortably Happily

Book - 2017
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"Inspired by Yeon-sik Hong's attempt to move to the country with his partner, Uncomfortably happily is the story of a young couple finding their way. Burdened by unmet comics deadlines and high rent, our narrator and his wife know they must make a change. Convinced the absence of traffic noise will ease his writer's block, our pair welcomes the idea of building a life from scratch. Deciding on a home atop an uninhabited mountain, they excitedly embrace the charms of their new rural existence. From tending to the land and attempting grocery runs through snow, to the complexities of fighting depression in seclusion, the move does not immediately prove to be the golden ticket they'd hoped for, and the silence of the mountain poses as much of an obstacle to output as the sirens of the city. Through it all, though, we see simple pleasures seep in and gain prominence over these commercial, and, often, comparatively trivial worries: the smell of the forest, the calming weight of enveloping snow, and the gratification of a stripped down life making art begin to muffle other concerns. Originally published in Korean to great acclaim and winning the Manhwa Today award, Uncomfortably, Happily uniquely explores our narrator's inner world. Hong propels the comic with gorgeously detailed yet simple art, sharing the story of two lives unfolding slowly, sometimes uncomfortably, yet ultimately, happily."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: [Montreal] :, Drawn & Quarterly,, 2017
Edition: First English edition
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9781770462601
Characteristics: 572 pages : chiefly illustrations ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Jo, Hellen - Translator


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A portrait of the life of two married artists trying to live on their own in the rural mountains of South Korea. An enjoyable and relatable read that is both simple and playful in its depiction of Yeon-Sik Hong's own life. I know this won't be a concern for most readers but I would have liked more compassion toward animals and the environment here. The author and his wife seem somewhat indifferent to the animals they've taken into their farm-like home and they also seem to have no reservations about fishing and removing plants from the wild. While this is a touching depiction of life in the country-side, it is not fundamentally a story of ecological stewardship or sustainability.

IndyPL_KatieW Nov 19, 2018

An honest and complex self-portrait of surviving a full year of country living as a struggling artist and young newlywed. Hong captures the experience in exquisite black-and-white line art that ranges from expressive (often hilarious) comic figures to elegant bucolic landscapes. His mastery of negative space to convey nighttime scenes is astonishing, and I could stare all day at the summer sequence of the couple floating in their mountain pool. The story manages to be fascinatingly specific to the author's personal life and cultural milieu while also portraying universal themes of youthful struggle, creative angst, and building a relationship in marriage and with nature. Recommended to readers of graphic memoirs like Blankets and Fun Home and to fans of the black-and-white line art in Scott McCloud's Zot! or Black Hole, by Charles Burns.


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