The Waiting

Drawn & Quarterly. Oct. 2021. 248p. ISBN 9781770464575. pap. $24.95. GRAPHIC NOVELS
Gendry-Kim’s follow-up to Grass (the award-winning graphic novel based on her mother’s life) starts with the onset of World War II, as Korean teenager Gwija prepares to a man she barely knows, in order to avoid being forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army. Within a few years, she’s the proud mother of two small children. When the Korean War begins, her family joins countless others fleeing south to escape the fighting in the north of the peninsula. At one point in the trek, Gwija stops to nurse her infant daughter and loses her husband and son in the crowd. She never finds them. Seventy years later, Gwija’s daughter from her second marriage promises she’ll find her long-lost older brother before her mother dies—a heartbreakingly impossible task. Gendry-Kim’s masterful black-and-white drawings and innovative layouts convey an uncanny sense of longing in this unforgettable account of the Korean War’s lasting impact.
VERDICT A remarkably empathic tour-de-force crafted around testimony by Gendry-Kim’s mother and other Koreans who long to reunite with family in the North.
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