Shoplifter

Michael Cho, Author
Michael Cho. Pantheon, $19.95 (96p) ISBN 978-0-307-91173-5
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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.)
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