When: Mon., Sept. 29, 7 p.m. 2014
People choose to deal with the monotony of modern life in a variety of ways. For Corinna Park, the protagonist of Michael Cho’s new graphic novel Shoplifter, that micro-resistance is stealing. But Cho’s novel is more about the feeling of being trapped in an unfulfilling daily rhythm than about the five-finger discount. Cho’s Corinna is a wannabe novelist stuck in a New York City advertising job with only a cat as a companion. The story itself is not incredibly original, dealing with frequently covered topics — social anxiety, shallow relationships, mass media — in an un-revelatory manner. But the book’s illustrations manage to invigorate the familiar story of searching for personal meaning, and bring it to life with exquisite renderings in a dramatic black-and-pink palette. The clean, yet evocative depictions make Corinna instantly relatable, especially for Asian-American women, offering wells of pent-up frustration in just the subtle curvature of her mouth. Overall, it’s a promising debut novel for the South Korea-born illustrator currently based in Toronto. Cho will be at Diesel bookstore (5433 College Ave., Oakland) on Monday to discuss the book with acclaimed graphic designer Chip Kidd, as well as to sign copies.