By Yeon-Sik Hong, translated by Hellen Jo. Published by Drawn & Quarterly.
Softcover, 576 pages, B&W, 2017.
WHEN THE GENTLER PACE AND STILLNESS OF THE COUNTRYSIDE REPLACE THE ROAR OF THE CITY, BUT YOUR EDITOR KEEPS CALLING
With gorgeously detailed yet minimal art, cartoonist Yeon-Sik Hong explores his move with his wife to a small house atop a rural mountain, replacing the high-rent hubbub of Seoul with the quiet murmur of the country. With their dog, cats, and chickens by their side, the simple life and isolation they so desperately craved proves to present new anxieties. Hong paints a beautiful portrait of the Korean countryside, changing seasons, and the universal relationships humans have with each other as well as nature, both of which are sometimes frustrating but always rewarding.
Uncomfortably Happily is translated by American cartoonist Hellen Jo from the acclaimed Manhwa Today award-winning Korean edition.
Translated from the Korean by Hellen Jo.
Praise for Uncomfortably Happily
Anyone who has ever-so-slowly stumbled into adulthood, suffered the sting of poverty and delayed satisfaction, or built a long-term relationship in spite of every external obstacle, will find a point of access in the unusual beauty and stunning honesty of Uncomfortably Happily.Winnipeg Free Press
The mix of pathos and buoyant humor — as well as charming and three-dimensional characterization — keep you engrossed. Plus, the artwork is fantastic, mixing cartoony, almost Lynda Barry–ish figure work with stunningly evocative and impressionistic landscapes.Vulture
Uncomfortably Happily is a candid, engrossing tale of two comic artists looking for comfort in solitude and minimalist living, even as the twin shadows of poverty and stress loom.The Atlantic
... a realistic and excruciatingly claustrophobic look at the reality behind the utopia that we often envision as adults for our relationship and our career goals.The Comics Journal
[an] extraordinary comic-book memoir ... Uncomfortably Happily bursts with irrational exuberance from every panel.Slate
At first glance Uncomfortably Happy may look to be merely a sweet little story about youthful struggle, but page by page, it unfolds into a much more complex work. A book both dark and light, intimate, touching yet also exceedingly charming. All the stuff of real life.Seth, author of Palookaville
The story is as simple as they come: Hong draws himself and his wife, both struggling artists, going about daily life after they move from overcrowded, overpriced Seoul to a run-down house on a forested mountain. But a tale is in the telling, and this irresistible graphic novel turns every mundane moment into an adventure.Publishers Weekly Starred Review
Hong’s drawings are beautiful and interesting ... there’s something successful about the melancholy tempered with realism that Uncomfortable Happily conveys.Paste
It’s a gripping graphic novel, whose subject matter is much vaster than might be suggested…We learn a lot about South Korea…and a way of life that is both more technologically driven and more traditional [than our own]. A beautiful discovery.Le Nouvel Observateur
Uncomfortably Happily is clever, charming, and worth a look if you are interested in a droll family story, graphic novels, or an introduction to a wide range of Korean modern culture.Los Angeles Review of Books
Hong’s minimalist detail speaks volumes as he enjoys snowy walks with his wife and languid swims in a nearby pond, wrestling with the anxieties of marriage, new parenthood, and imposter syndrome.Los Angeles Review of Bookss
This engrossing story of an artist couple who leave the noise and smog of the city behind for mountainside solitude is by turns delicate and raw, with artwork that ranges from the gently pastoral to the surreal and harrowing. Beautifully done.John Porcellino, author of The Hospital Suite
Uncomfortably Happily is the rare graphic novel that remains still for long periods of time ... tranquil and meditative on first glance, but conceals a frantic interiority bubbling just below the surface, proving that simpler isn’t always easier.io9
Uncomfortably Happily by Yeon-sik Hong tells the story of its author’s decision to leave 21st-century Seoul and move with his wife to a small house on top of a mountain... Charming and perhaps unexpectedly complex.Guardian, Best Graphic Novels of 2017
[Uncomfortably Happily is] brilliantly illustrated in black and white, which veers from minimal slices of everyday life to more intricate, elaborate flights of fancy to depict the husband’s angst and existential self-pity. But for the most part, the book is full of levity... there is a simplicity and peacefulness in watching two people just try to make it work.GQ
[Uncomfortably Happily is] equally surprising and exciting as it is unpretentious…this book [documents] the path to wisdom.Du9
Uncomfortably Happily is both light-hearted and moving, a twist on the common urban challenges that often drive people to search for happiness elsewhere.Bookwitty
In its own quiet, unassuming way, Uncomfortably Happily holds up a mirror of our insecurities and efforts to be successful.Anime News Network