Buja's Diary
reviewed by Puiblishers Weekly
Starred Review. As interest in manga peaks, other Asian forms of comics are beginning to surface in North America. Now we can add manhwa, or Korean comics. Seyeong's work is meditative, naturalistic and frequently moving. This is a lengthy book comprising a baker's dozen of stories that range from corporate drudgery in South Korea to pastoral farm life, from ancestral keepsakes to gentle parables about ethics. In one rather remarkable tale, the protagonist describes a mysterious leather pouch carried everywhere by his grandfather. The pouch signifies the lives he left behind, first when Korea was split in two and then, as life continued, when his friends and, eventually, his wife died. The pouch comes to symbolize both the passing of life and of Korea's century. Seyeong renders all of these stories in carefully composed frames, each panel a precise emotional or physical moment. His drawings are nearly sculptural, and his figures move with both grace and drama. What's really impressive, though, is this book's gentle nature. The author's voice—clear, humane, and patient—always comes through, making these comics both a thoughtful glimpse into a foreign and little-discussed culture and a pleasure to read.