The Eternal Smile, by Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim

The Eternal Smile
Three Stories

by Gene Luen Yang
& Derek Kirk Kim

First Second, New York, 2009. 170 pages.
Starred Review.

It’s hard to decide how to classify this graphic novel, whether it’s fantasy or science fiction. Since the flavor is more bizarre, mind-tripping science fiction, that’s the primary category I’ll file it under.

The Eternal Smile tells three stories. I expected them to be linked, like American Born Chinese, but these were only related by a similar theme. All involved virtual reality and a person’s (or frog’s) deepest desires. They talked about the disconnect between reality and our dreams, yet how dreams do make us who we are. All three left me feeling thoughtful and meditative and satisfied.

I don’t think of myself as a graphic novel fan, but Gene Luen Yang and a few others are changing that. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

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