Thursday, September 3, 2009

Waiting For... *The Color of Heaven*

The Color of Heaven, when it comes out next week, will be the third and final installment in Kim Dong Hwa's pastoral Korean graphic novel published by First Second. And I can't even wait!
Who will Ehwa end up with? What will happen to her mother? It hasn't been a long wait because all three volumes of the story were published within months of each other, but I am still pretty excited.

Me on The Color of Earth:

With the depressing collapse of the Minx imprint line of comics for teen girls started by DC comics, I am always on the lookout for exceptional (or really any) comics and graphic novels for females, teen or otherwise. Which is why I am looking forward to this summer in publishing, if only for the next two installments of Kim Dong Hwa's trilogy, beginning with The Color of Earth.

I read this beautiful graphic novel quickly at first and realized that I had slowed down just to match the floating pace of the story. This is a beautiful and evocative tale set in 19th cen. pastoral Korea. Ehwa, over the course of several seasons (you really get a feel for the changing of the seasons in the story), comes of age and learns about the mystery of intimacy. Hwa uses natural imagery and parables to explain love and relationships, men and women.

Ehwa's mother runs a tavern and is single, her virtue questioned and gossiped about. Ehwa struggles to understand the men in her life and the way they behave very differently to women. The tavern men are lecherous and aggressive with her mother, but the young monk she meets on the road is sweet and unassuming.

This is a very lovely and insightful book. I'm really looking forward to the next two in the series, The Color of Water (out in June) and The Color of Heaven (out in September).

Check out the Minx line as well. Most of them are still available and in stock at the store. They are smart and egdy little comics for girls ages 15 and up. Cecil Castellucci's The Plain Janes and Janes in Love are my personal favorites.

Me on The Color of Water:

Oh Ehwa, you are so snarky and pining at times, and still a great character!
The Color of Water just came in, sequel to The Color of Earth, and my to-be-reading pile was brushed to the side as I simply ate this book up.

In Color of Earth, Ehwa was left with a massive crush on two boys, the Buddhist monk in training and the golden farm boy. As this book opens she continues in her confusion, which seems more gentle and playful than moping or obsessive, when Duksam catches her bathing, ostensibly looking to fix his “broken belt”.

I completely had a crush on Duksam! I liked him more than the monk and the glow-y farm boy. I enjoyed reading about their budding romance, even as Ehwa’s mom pines for her seemingly lost Painter Man. The snark on Ehwa’s account comes when she starts in on her mom about her taste in travelling men and she even compares the painter man’s looks to those of her own Duksam. She can be a real jerk in this volume, but she is feeling her way into her developing womanhood.

The hilarious and precocious Bongsoon plays a bigger part in this story, too, as closest gal pal after their other friend is married off to a 7 year old (it happened). Ehwa is reminded of how lucky she is that her mother cares for her so much and wishes her to choose marriage for love. This freedom is put to the test when Ehwa’s mom receives a visit and a tempting offer.

The way this book ends is frustrating, causing me to throw my hands to the skies and yell “Why, Duksam, why!?”, but I will quietly wait like Ehwa, softly confused, until The Color of Heaven reaches me (August).


Tales of Whimsy said...

They each have such lovely covers.

Marge in Chehalis, WA said...

Mandy! How am I ever going to read all the books you recommend with your awesome reviews? Thanks for all the wonderful reading times you have provided...I look forward to each review!


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