The Undertaking of Lily Chen Book Review

51hlkeqrf9l-_sx348_bo1204203200_When Deshi Li’s brother dies in an accident, his family is not only in a state of panic because of the death, but because Deshi died unmarried…meaning he will have to enter the afterlife alone…for somewhere deep in the mountains of Northern China where the Li family lives, ancient custom demands that every man must have a wife to keep him company in the afterlife.  You can probably imagine where this is going…

In an effort to make good with his brother, Deshi heads out on a mission to find an eligible dead body for his brother before the week is over.  During his travels, he meets a woman named Lily Chen, a sweet and salty girl who needs money and a fast ride out of town…

Unaware of each other’s mission, the two embark on a journey together with two different destinations in mind…Deshi hoping to bring Lily home freshly killed for his brother; Lily hoping to marry Deshi and escape the life she once knew.

Both haunted by their past, literally and figuratively, Lily and Deshi travel through the Chinese countryside, meeting several characters along the way that help and hurt the end goals for both characters.  However, things get extra complicated when Deshi and Lily begin forming a romance neither one saw coming.

Told in a beautiful collection of illustrations that pay homage to classic Asian watercolor paintings, The Undertaking of Lily Chen is a beautifully sad and sweet story told in stunning picturesque detail.  Hauntingly human and wry, this graphic novel was a surprising read that combines duty and desire in the most poetic and humbling way.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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