Monday, July 24, 2006


Review of The Great Catsby Vol. 1

Twenty-six-year-old male..

A total bum with no ambitions..

Are descriptions that aptly define me.”

These are the opening words of the Great Catsby. From the get-go, one might think that they can grasp what kind of story lies behind those words, and may choose to take it or leave it for what it is. These opening words, however, are a shallow, superficial front to the true depths of this young man's (cat's?) story. Catsby, a young male who's education is limited and career options are few, finds himself jobless and living with his best friend, Houndu, who is a successful freelance private tutor. Catsby then suddenly loses his friend-with-benefits of six years to a rich man and finds himself burdened with the pain of losing his love. Houndu treats him to as many earthly delights as he can in order to drown his pain, but Persu is not easily forgotten. At least, not until Catsby finds himself on a blind date with a strange (and perhaps slightly insane) woman who shares a bed with him not long after they first meet.

This is the tale of every youth's heartaches, friendships, and confusions. It is told with brutal and unyielding detail and pinpoint accuracy that most will be able to identify with. It reflects upon how twisted and cruel life can be, but it also shows the hope that comes with irony and the small joys in life.

Catsby is the hero in this small saga, and represents all of us who have loved when we knew we shouldn't have. Persu, Catsby's lover, is the proverbial “one that got away”; she is the one person with whom we were sure it would last forever, but suddenly you find yourself abandoned for someone else and severely hurt because of it. Houndu, the best friend that you're always sick of and yet can't get enough of, is always there for Catsby, as firmly as we all hope to have our best friends stick by us when we need it the most. Finally, the girl known only as “Class C” in this first volume, stands as Catsby's only ray of hope to find happiness in his world of youthful angst.

The book is a wonderfully short venture which you might find yourself reading over and over, if not for the powerful dialogue, then to better understand the jumbled syntax that litters the pages. The text is literally translated from Korean, so understanding in English may take a few tries, however you may find that the direct translations add to the poetic charm that the story has.

The art is beautifully clean and simple, with backdrops inspired by real locations in a “neighborhood scheduled for forced evacuation”, and bold colors with humorously exaggerated expressions add beautiful contrast to the inherently dark tone of the story.

This is a book for anyone who has been confused by life, burned by love, and still have been able to find hope, despite personal despair.

2 Comments:

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