The Undertaking of Lily Chen

The Undertaking of Lily Chen
Age Range
Release Date
March 25, 2014
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In The Undertaking of Lily Chen, Deshi, a young man struggling to make a life for himself in rural China, watches his life comes unhinged when he accidentally kills his older brother in a fight. His distraught parents send him on a hopeless journey to acquire a bride for his brother to marry posthumously so he doesn't enter the next world alone—an ancient Chinese tradition with many modern adherents. Eligible female corpses are in short supply, however. When Deshi falls into company with a beautiful, angry, and single young woman named Lily, he sees a solution to his problems. The only hitch is Lily is still very much alive. Danica Novgorodoff, author of Slow Storm and Refresh, Refresh, brings her distinctive voice and gorgeous, moody watercolors to this wry, beautiful, and surprising literary graphic novel.

Editor review

1 review
Chilling and breathtaking
Overall rating
Writing Style
With beautiful artwork reminiscent of classical Chinese paintings and Japanese monogatari scrolls, Danica Novgorodoff tells the story of the gritty and hard-fought journey of tragic Deshi and bittersweet Lily.

Deshi Li has a dark secret, and to atone for his mistake he must find the fresh corpse of a woman and return home with it by Sunday. The truth of China's corpse bride black market is gory, brutal, and inescapably real. When Deshi meets the down-on-her-luck Lily Chen, he thinks he might just get a break - over her dead body. Literally. Can Deshi complete the deal and murder Lily so she can be married off to his dead brother? Will Lily use her cleverness and strength to escape the harshness of her dirt-poor family? Or will something bright and warm blossom between these two desperate young people?

Told with few words, raw dialogue, and breathtaking illustrations, The Undertaking of Lily Chen is a magnificent graphic work. With some mature content, such as profanity and sexual content, this is a graphic novel for mature teens and adults.
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