One of our most imaginative writers and artists explores the visitations that haunt us in the midst of life, and reinvents the very way we narrate experience.
A tennis prodigy collapses after his wins, crediting them to an invisible, not entirely benevolent presence. A series of ghosts appear at their former bedsides, some distraught, some fascinated, to witness their unfamiliar occupants. A woman returns from a visit to Alcatraz with an uncomfortable feeling. The spirit of a prisoner has attached himself to you, a friend tells her. He sensed the sympathy you had for those men. In more than two dozen stories and vignettes, accompanied by an evocative curiosity cabinet of artifacts and images, Guestbook beckons us through the glimmering, unsettling evidence that marks our paths in life.
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I love when a book lets you into the beauty and pain of a very specific place or subculture. This gave me a glimpse into the very tough and complicated lives of Korean divorcees of a certain age. Written by the son of one.
An outrageously funny book about middle-aged women that re-examines romance, lust, and gender norms.
Translated from Korean by Janet Hong.
Lee Soyeon, Myeong-ok, and Yeonjeong are all mothers in their mid-fifties. And they’ve had it. They can no longer bear the dead weight of their partners or the endless grind of menial jobs where their bosses control everything, down to how much water they can drink. Although Lee Soyeon divorced her husband years ago after his gambling drove their family into bankruptcy, she’s found herself in another tired and dishonest decade-long relationship with Jongseok, a slimy waiter at a nightclub. Meanwhile, Myeong-ok is having an illicit affair with a younger man, and Yeonjeong, whose husband suffers from erectile dysfunction, has her eye on an acquaintance from the gym.
Bored with conventional romantic dalliances, these women embrace outrageous sexual adventures and mishaps, ending up in nightclubs, motels, and even the occasional back-alley brawl.
With this boisterous and darkly funny manhwa, Yeong-shin Ma defies the norms of the traditional Korean family narrative, offering instead the refreshingly honest and unfiltered story of a group of middle-aged moms who yearn for something more than what the mediocre men in their lives can provide. Despite their less than desirable jobs, salaries, husbands, and boyfriends, these women brazenly bulldoze their way through life with the sexual vulnerability and lust typically attributed to twenty-somethings.
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