Shoplifterby Michael Cho
Studying English literature in college, she imagined writing a successful novel and leading the idealized life of an author. But she’s been working at the same advertising agency for the past five years and the only thing she’s written is . . . copy. Corrina knows there must be more to life, but and she faces
Corrina Park used to have big plans.
Studying English literature in college, she imagined writing a successful novel and leading the idealized life of an author. But she’s been working at the same advertising agency for the past five years and the only thing she’s written is . . . copy. Corrina knows there must be more to life, but and she faces the same question as does everyone in her generation: how to find it?
Here is the brilliant debut graphic novel about a young woman’s search for happiness and self-fulfillment in the big city.
(With two-color illustrations throughout.)
From the Hardcover edition.
Corrina Park supplements her dead-end social life and mind-numbing urban existence with the thrill of shoplifting. It’s not even particularly adventurous theft, self-described as both “small time” and “magazines only, honest.” Between grumpily writing advertising copy for children’s perfume and catering to the whims of a banshee-howling cat, Corrina sates herself with frozen dinners for one and second-guessing her own apathy. It’s more a vignette than a novel, but illustrator Cho’s debut is a funny and touching portrait of urban angst. What’s exceptional is the eye-catching art in two colors, black and rose. The adept use of black ink delineates but does not complete the outlines of people and buildings; the rose tones shadow and spotlight, subtly drawing attention. Large swatches of rose or black physically define Corinna’s distance, both enforced and self-imposed, from her world. The delicate ink line articulates the facial expressions, and the intricate background and character details tie the narrative together. With its appealing story and quirky heroine, Cho’s debut is a visually electrifying, if minor, tale. (Sept.)
“With his debut book Shoplifter, Michael Cho joins the likes of Anya Ulinich (who's been credited for sketching a sort of Girls for divorcees), Jillian Tamaki (whose This One Summer follows an overweight teen), and Marjane Satrapi, the genius behind Persepolis.” —Huffington Post
“A beautifully illustrated character piece about a young woman in an unnamed city at a crossroads in her life, coming to terms with her unhappiness and destructive impulses.” —Comic Book Resources
“Shoplifter’s a short book—90 pages or so, and the concise length serves it well—there’s no flab here, no room for distracted interjections, no complaints. It may be slight, but it’s elegantly executed . . . assured and cogent. Visually, it’s as attractive as you’d expect from Cho, alternatively surrounding Corinna with beautiful rendered city and then leaving her swathes of space; she’s as lost in one as the other. The rose and black color scheme is a gorgeous combination that does much to imbue the narrative with a sense of warmth and closeness, and also to dispel any notions of otherwise suggested tone. It’s rare that you read something so evenly handled yet characterful and uplifting, but Shoplifter manages it.” —ComicsAlliance
“Cho’s illustrations are the real draw, with dense, rose-tinted cityscapes that perfectly convey the loneliness of urban life. It’s a notable debut.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Cho is a subtle storyteller, setting Shoplifter in a city reminiscent of Toronto, although it remains unnamed. As in his previous book, Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes, the city becomes something of a character, lonely but also full of possibility. This, along with his at times sparing use of language, gives the graphic novel an air of quiet desperation, of a decision about to be made.” —Los Angeles Times
“Shoplifter exists as a ‘slice of life’ story. . . . Where it stands above other works is in its execution and especially in Cho’s terrific and illustrative artwork. . . . His first graphic novel effort knocks it out of the park . . . with its humor, sense of style, and near flawless execution of its simple narrative.” —Examiner.com
“A funny and touching portrait of urban angst. What’s exceptional is the eye-catching art in two colors, black and rose. The adept use of black ink delineates but does not complete the outlines of people and buildings; the rose tones shadow and spotlight, subtly drawing attention. Large swatches of rose or black physically define Corinna’s distance, both enforced and self-imposed, from her world. The delicate ink line articulates the facial expressions, and the intricate background and character details tie the narrative together. With its appealing story and quirky heroine, Cho’s debut is a visually electrifying, if minor, tale.” —Publishers Weekly
“Where has Michael Cho been hiding himself? . . . His art is lovely with an art deco, Darwyn Cooke-style approach to the page, detailed with shaded images and dense backgrounds that seem full of people and buildings that nearly seem to jump off his page. There’s a tremendous feeling of life and realism in Cho’s characters; in their small sideways glances and bright eyes, Cho captures the essence of humanity in even the most random of background strangers . . . A memorable tale.” —Comics Bulletin
“Michael Cho’s Shoplifter is the most modern, of-its-time graphic novel I’ve read in a long while.” —Comicsworthreading.com
“Michael Cho’s Shoplifter, his first graphic novel, is a joy to behold—so beautiful it will make all other cartoonists weep with envy.” —Seth, author of Palookaville
- Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Sold by:
- Random House
- NOOK Book
- File size:
- 62 MB
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Meet the Author
MICHAEL CHO is an illustrator, cartoonist, and writer whose previously published work includes Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes, a collection of sketches depicting Toronto’s cityscape. Born in South Korea, he has lived in Canada since he was six.
From the Hardcover edition.
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In Shoplifter we are introduced to Corinna Parks who, armed with her English degree, landed a job at an advertising agency fresh out of college. But that was five years ago and she’s still writing ad copy and is not living her idealized life as a writer and author. Because her life is not going as expected, she’s a bit detached from all that is around her. Shoplifting (magazines only) is an odd “pick-me-up” that Corinna engages in to boost her spirits and feel more alive. I love limited color palettes in comics and graphic novels and Cho uses a black and pink one. The artwork is just stunning – especially the people’s faces, eyes and gestures — so expressive. The panels that focus on Corinna’s daily life – her morning routine, office life, and after work activities – are full of many details to notice and convey her various emotional states. One of my favorite panels that shows Corinna kneeling on the floor in front of her cat, Anais, speaks volumes without anything being said — the sense of space and body language says it all. The cityscape panels and page spreads have a detached vibe to them that also mirrors Corinna’s current circumstances: she’s been in the city for five years but doesn’t have any roots yet and isn’t quite sure if she even belongs. The macro art shows us how easy it is for Corinna, or anyone, to be so anonymous and alone among so many people. Corinna is so relatable (minus the shoplifting part for me) that she could be any twenty or thirty-something who is coming to terms with his/her reality verses his/her idealized life. I had a rollercoaster ride of emotions as I was reading along, absorbed in Corinna’s world – vulnerability, worry, frustration, loneliness, fear, happiness, self-doubt, and hope. Her thoughts and speech as well as how she handles herself in various situations are spot on. But the instant connection between us is likely due to where I’m at in my life. Some of us (cough, cough) are more than five years out from college and are still trying to sort things out. Shoplifter will resonate most with this crowd, but Cho’s beautifully drawn slice-of-life story can be enjoyed by anyone. Despite the wee bit of shoplifting (only magazines) Corinna engages in, Shoplifter is a clean read – no profanity, sexual content, violence, or drug use. isniffbooks[dot]wordpress[dot]com Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions are my own.