The Color of Earth by Kim Dong Hwa
Translated from the Korean by Lauren Na
First Second, New York & London 2009
What a wonderful graphic novel! Again, First Second has published art in book form. The first of three in a series, I may just have to break my no-new-books vow and get the whole set.
The Color of Earth tells of the daily lives and the world of two generations of Korean women. Sometime in the past, in a quiet rural village of Namwon, Ehwa lives with her mother, a widowed tavern keeper. They are best friends and tell each other many secrets. The story is filled with flowers and rain. In beautiful black and white drawings and poetic language we watch Ehwa growing up. As each spring passes she learns about her changing body and begins to learn about life. As Ehwa grows, her mother, left alone at young age, rediscovers love.
The artist, Kim Dong Hwa is famous in Korean for creating sunjung, comics for young girls, known as shojo in Japan. The Color of Earth is something completely new, a sunjung style manhwa (manga in Japan), enjoying great success with an adult audience, both men and women. It is a beautiful book that tells a wonderful story. I can not wait to read the next part, The Color of Water.