Shadow Life (2021)


When Kumiko’s well-meaning adult daughters place her in an assisted living home, the seventy-six-year-old widow gives it a try, but it’s not where she wants to be. She goes on the lam and finds a cozy bachelor apartment, keeping the location secret even while communicating online with her eldest daughter. Kumiko revels in the small, daily pleasures: decorating as she pleases, eating what she wants, and swimming in the community pool. But something has followed her from her former residence—Death’s shadow.

Kumiko’s sweet life is shattered when Death’s shadow swoops in to collect her. With her quick mind and sense of humor, Kumiko, with the help of friends new and old, is prepared for the fight of her life. But how long can an old woman thwart fate?

From: Macmillan Publishers

Notes on This Title

The main character of this title is an elderly, bisexual Japanese Canadian woman.

This title contains frequent references to death and dying.


Autostraddle - Best Queer Books of 2021
2021 ALA Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table Best Graphic Novels for Adults
2022 Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Comics - Nominee


Starred Review: “Sprinkled with fabulism (a vacuum and salt can stop death), confronting racist history (Canada’s WWII prison camps for Japanese Canadians), and questioning institutionalized eldercare, Goto’s latest is an empowering, emotional tribute to defiant, independent, kick-ass old women living their best lives.” (Source: Booklist)

Starred Review: “Quiet sensitivity and humor shine throughout, lighting the bright triumph in one woman’s twilight.” (Source: Publishers Weekly)

“Queer BIPOC elder representation shines in this graphic novel about Kumiko, a bisexual Japanese Canadian woman in her 70s who finds death has come too early for her. She intends to fight it. Xu’s art is exact and generous as it takes care to depict an elderly woman with dignity and to create an affectionate portrayal of East Vancouver.” (Source: Autostraddle)


CBC: “In Hiromi Goto and Ann Xu’s graphic novel Shadow Life, an elderly woman faces life and death on her own terms”

Stir: “In Hiromi Goto’s new graphic novel, Shadow Life, the older Asian woman is a fierce queer hero”

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