Grief Is for People
Little Underworld

Feeding Ghosts

9780374601652 fc
Hardcover, MCD × FSG, 2024

An astonishing, deeply moving graphic memoir about three generations of Chinese women, exploring love, grief, exile, and identity.

In her evocative, genre-defying graphic memoir, Tessa Hulls tells the story of three generations of women in her family: her Chinese grandmother, Sun Yi; her mother, Rose; and herself.

Sun Yi was a Shanghai journalist caught in the political crosshairs of the 1949 Communist victory. After eight years of government harassment, she fled to Hong Kong with her daughter. Upon arrival, Sun Yi wrote a bestselling memoir about her persecution and survival, used the proceeds to put Rose in an elite boarding school—and promptly had a breakdown that left her committed to a mental institution. Rose eventually came to the United States on a scholarship and brought Sun Yi to live with her.

Tessa watched her mother care for Sun Yi, both of them struggling under the weight of Sun Yi's unexamined trauma and mental illness. Vowing to escape her mother’s smothering fear, Tessa left home and traveled to the farthest-flung corners of the globe (Antarctica). But at the age of thirty, it starts to feel less like freedom and more like running away, and she returns home to face the history that shaped her family.

Extensively researched and gorgeously rendered, Feeding Ghosts is Hulls’s homecoming, a vivid journey into the beating heart of one family, set against the dark backdrop of Chinese history. By turns fascinating and heartbreaking, inventive and poignant, Feeding Ghosts exposes the fear and trauma that haunt generations, and the love that holds them together.

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  • "A deep, illuminating dive into Chinese history, mental illness, and inherited trauma." 

    —Thi Bui, author of The Best We Could Do

  • “With incandescent imagery and prose, Tessa Hulls excavates the incredible, sweeping story of her matrilineal lineage, wrestling with the ways in which her family’s ghosts, experiences with mental illness, and loneliness reverberate across generations. A striking, gorgeous memoir from a spectacular talent, Feeding Ghosts will linger with readers for years to come.” 

    —Kat Chow, author of Seeing Ghosts

  • “This riveting personal story, beautifully rendered in words and drawings, probes into three generations of women haunted by war, revolution, dislocation and not belonging. Feeding Ghosts will haunt you, I could not put it down.”

    —Helen Zia, author of Last Boat out of Shanghai : The Epic Story of the Chinese who Fled Mao’s Revolution

  • "Feeding Ghosts reminds us how much the personal is political . . . an audacious, awe-inspiring feat. For me, it was an essential read."

     —Ling Ma, author of Bliss Montage

  • "Feeding Ghosts swallows you up in swirling eddies of ink. A visual jungle gym with the iconography of David B., the journalistic thoroughness of Joe Sacco (I learned so much), the intellect of Alison Bechdel, and a vulnerable heart completely unique to Tessa Hulls. I loved it."

     —Craig Thompson, author of Blankets and Habibi