The Naked Tree (Paperback)
A delicate, timeless, and breathtaking coming-of-age story.
The 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-seo’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.
The year is 1951. Twenty-year-old wallflower Lee Kyung ekes out a living at the US Post Exchange, where goods and services of varying stripe 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. Available for the first time in English, this edition of The Naked Tree is exquisitely translated by award-winning expert Janet Hong.
About the Author
Keum Suk Gendry-Kim was born in Goheung in Jeolla Province. She has cartooned the graphic novels Grass, The Waiting, La saison des pluies, Jiseul, Jun, The Naked Tree, and Alexandra Kim, a Woman of Siberia; the autobiographical comic The Song of My Father; the three-volume children’s comic Coquinette; the picture books The Baby Hanyeo Okrang Goes to Dokdo and A Day with My Grandpa; and the children’s book My Mother Kang Geumsun. Grass (Drawn & Quarterly, 2019) appeared on Best of the Year lists from the New York Times and the Guardian, and received the Cartoonist Studio Prize for the Best Print Comic of the Year, the Big Other Book Award for Best Graphic Novel in 2019, the Harvey Award for Best International Book, and the Krause Essay Prize in 2020.
"The artist’s stark brushstrokes and narrative masterstrokes make an affecting combination, as hope and heartbreak span generations."—Washington Post
“Keum takes the reader inside some of the human heart’s most inaccessible chambers, places that are all but closed to most visitors.”—Guardian
"Another stunning masterpiece.”—Booklist