In celebration of National Translation Month, for this week’s Illustrated PEN Guest Editor Meg Lemke presents an excerpt from the forthcoming Bad Friends (Drawn & Quarterly, 2018) by artist Ancco, translated from Korean by Janet Hong.
Lemke writes: Ancco’s debut both in Korea and America is a discovery; a work of fiction based on her own life, for many American graphic novel readers, this drawing out of the inner world and tumultuous experiences of a young South Korean teen in the ’90s will be both fresh and achingly familiar. The savage abuse that Pearl, Ancco’s stand-in, receives at home and school is counterpoised by the intense friendships with “Bad” girls (compared to whom, her home-life is idealized, as at least her parents care what she gets up to). Themes of rebellion, dawning sexual power and vulnerability, and coming-of-age are set in haunting black and white cityscapes and seedy backrooms. As we celebrate translation month, don’t miss this unique work.