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Graphic Novel - 2019
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"Grass is a powerful anti-war graphic novel, offering up firsthand the life story of a Korean girl named Okseon Lee who was forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese Imperial Army during the second World War - a disputed chapter in 20th century Asian history. Beginning in Lee's childhood, Grass shows the leadup to World War II from a child's vulnerable perspective, detailing how one person experienced the Japanese occupation and the widespread suffering it entailed for ordinary Korean folk. Keum Suk Gendry-Kim emphasizes Lee's strength in overcoming the many forms of adversity she experienced. Grass is painted in a black ink that flows with lavish details of the beautiful fields and farmland of Korea and uses heavy brushwork on the somber interiors of Lee's memories. The cartoonist Gendry-Kim's interviews with Lee become an integral part of Grass, forming the heart and architecture of this powerful nonfiction graphic novel and offering a holistic view of how Lee's wartime suffering changed her. Grass is a landmark graphic novel that makes personal the desperate cost of war and the importance of peace."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: [Montréal] : Drawn & Quarterly, 2019.
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9781770463622
Characteristics: 471 pages, 9 unnumbered pages : chiefly illustrations ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Hong, Janet - Translator


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JCLBetM Mar 07, 2021

A startlingly raw telling of one Korean woman's experiences as a "comfort woman" (Japanese sex slave) during WWII--Granny Lee Ok-sun. While the author doesn't shy away from sharing the horrors of rape, she chooses to state things matter-of-factly and use stark images of nature or harsh scribbles to visually depict these experiences. The otherwise almost cartoonish illustrations of people make the story all the weightier. Touching on Korea, China, and Japan, this book offers a valuable window into history that is not often mentioned in the Western World.

Aug 15, 2020

A beautiful work. Give every panel the space it needs. Couldn't put it down.

Jan 08, 2020

Graphic novel much more crueler than any Hard Case novel. No justice for perpetrators. Diminishing survivors fighting for a stronger apology with weekly protests at Japanese embassy.

Jan 07, 2020

The artistry that Gendry-Kim uses to tell Ok-Sun's story brings to life the emotions. At only fifteen, Ok-Sun suffers from incredible hardships and you see how Ok-Sun views herself through Gendry-Kim's brushstrokes. You see how dark and breaking the experience of a comfort woman had to deal with. Many of the girls that were sent to Comfort stations were less than fourteen which is highlighted within the novel. Gendry-Kim did Ok-Sun's story justice in my opinion and I would recommend this novel to anyone who wants to learn more about Asia during World War II.

Sep 29, 2019

Just here to post a mini review: Along with the aforementioned synopsis and comments from a critic, which do a very precise and accurate description of the book, it should go on to say this is not a book for younger or light-hearted individuals. The subject matter and the recounted story of Mrs.Lee's life is dark, melancholic, and heart-breaking with no real hope or ray of light.

That being said, the story is well told, candid, and done without being grotesque or gratuitous. I feel these type of stories should absolutely be told and read to better appreciate the good that we have and acknowledge the evils of history. The art is definitely an outstanding aspect of this book and shouldn't be understated. One criticism: the ending is a bit rushed but serviceable.

In short, this book does a good job of telling the story and messages it hopes to accomplish. Based on the subject matter, read with caution and an open heart. Have a tissue box nearby.


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