I am currently working on a nonfiction graphic novel titled Feeding Ghosts. More info below. This gallery contains work-in-progress images from the book, but you can see comics that show the themes I will be exploring HERE, and you can read a South China Morning Post article about the project HERE. You can also follow the project's Instagram hashtag HERE.
I anticipate that I will be working on this project through 2020, if not longer.
I am on a quest to bring peace to my family’s ghosts. My grandmother Sun Yi was a journalist in Shanghai and in 1949, the year of the Communist takeover, she had an affair with a Swiss diplomat and ended up a single mother raising a mixed race bastard child while being persecuted by the Communist government. When my mother was eight, Sun Yi smuggled the two of them out of the country beneath the false bottom of a fishing boat and they fled to Hong Kong as refugees, where my grandmother wrote a bestselling memoir titled Eight Years in Red Shanghai: Love, Starvation, Persecution. Sun Yi used the money from her book to place my mother in boarding school, then tragically had a mental breakdown and was institutionalized: she never truly recovered.
My mother, who never met her father, was essentially raised as an orphan by her boarding school, and when she immigrated to the US on a college scholarship, she brought Sun Yi with her. I grew up with my grandma in my family home, but between her mental state and the fact that my mom deliberately didn’t teach me Chinese, I was never able to know her as a person, only as the broken ghost of a culture I did not understand.
I ran away from my family’s darkness at the first moment I could, but am returning as a prodigal daughter through Feeding Ghosts, a nonfiction graphic novel exploring loss of culture, mixed race identity, mental illness, loss of language, immigration, and generational inheritance of trauma through the lens of mother/daughter relationships and the life story of Sun Yi.