... delightful and challenging ... To be candid, I struggled to get into this book. The title Uncomfortably Happily is awkward, suggesting perhaps that something idiomatic failed to translate from the original Korean ... It’s also very long — almost 600 pages — and dense, full of smallish panels and a lot of text ... Moreover, the book presents Hong as highly irritable and full of complaint ... But as the story progressed I began to appreciate its willingness to let Hong’s flaws show. It added to the complexity of his character, as well as illuminating that of his wife, who supports him while pursuing her own career ambitions ... Ultimately, this is a book that insists upon attention. Even the drawings, which at first appeared crude to me, yield surprising details, especially of the countryside ... The ending is poignant and offers a damning critique of the capitalist need for expansion and development. You should most definitely take the time to read this book.
Don’t confuse this with the typical narrative where the heroes will find happiness, tragedy, or peace in the world by moving away from modern life. Hong’s work shows readers a post-modern wilderness that denies both romantic narrative and ends the myth of the rural heterotopia ... Yeon-Sik Hong offers a complex view of a couple struggling to succeed in life and career. His simple narrative offers a critique of the changing workforce, shifting social norms, and the complex pressures put on contemporary relationships ... Hong offers us a look at reality, not a fairy tale. In a world where we cannot escape the debts and sacrifice that allow us to survive, we can still find moments that transcend the frustration and find a way to live. No life is perfect and no mountain hideaway Xanadu. At its heart, Uncomfortably Happily does offer the hope that with commitment and an open mind, we can find our own happiness in the most uncomfortable places.
... this irresistible graphic novel turns every mundane moment into an adventure. Hong’s art suggests an unpredictable mash-up of comic strips, indie comics, and animated cartoons ... Acclaimed American cartoonist Hellen Jo provides a loose, natural translation.