The Naked Tree
Critically acclaimed and award-winning cartoonist Keum Suk Gendry-Kim returns with a stunning addition to her body of graphic fiction rooted in Korean history. Adapted from Park Wan-suh’s beloved novel, The Naked Tree paints a stark portrait of a single nation’s fabric slowly torn to shreds by political upheaval and armed conflict. Fleshing out the characters in fresh, imaginative ways, and incorporating the original author into the story, Gendry-Kim breathes new life into this Korean classic. The year is 1951. Twenty-year-old wallflower Lee Kyeonga ekes out a living at the US military Post Exchange where goods and services of varying stripes are available for purchase. She peddles hand-painted portraits on silk handkerchiefs to soldiers passing through. When a handsome, young northern escapee and erstwhile fine artist is hired despite waning demand, an unlikely friendship blossoms into a young woman’s first brush with desire against the backdrop of the Korean War at its most devastating. Gendry-Kim brings a masterpiece of world literature to life with bold, expressive lines that capture a denuded landscape brutally forced into transition and the people who must find their way back to each other within it. The Naked Tree is exquisitely translated by award-winning expert Janet Hong.