Review: Their Story by HaeNuLi Shin
HaeNuLi Shin is best known in the lolita world for her self-titled lolita fashion brand, Haenuli. I first learned abut Haenuli’s fashion brand at a lolita convention in Georgia called “Frill”. It was the first year of the convention, which was pretty small, and so it was held in like a club house type building, and there was room which had been transformed into a little shop. And when you went in the entrance near the front door, there were a few tables and then there was this mannequin, and on the mannequin was a sample of Haenuli’s sleeping beauty print in black. And, I remember, I asked to buy it and was told it wasn’t for sale yet. I ended up buying it in two colors and I’ve been following her brand ever since.
Recently, she published an artbook called Their Story.
Their Story follows two main characters; a girl and a skeleton. Both figures are symbolic; the girl can be interpreted as the reader, or an embodiment of human emotion, of life, or as a girl friend in a couple. The skeleton can be interpreted as depression or death, or a boyfriend / ex-boyfriend, friend or lost love, or as the hard-to-describe feeling of safety and familiarity that lurks under the surface of depression. The story resonates on a deeply personal level, and I think it’s one of those things where it can really be interpreted in many different ways. Make no mistake though; it is not a light story. It has a weight to it.
For those who have been following the facebook photo posts, I can say it’s a little different; it’s not just a series of single images, the actual book (Their Story: The Story You Don’t Know) has a plot and a momentum to it. It’s a cyclical story, and it’s one of those books that really leaves you with an almost tactile feeling of needing to sit, and think on the depth and meaning of the story for a bit after reading it.
I strongly recommend reading it at least twice, as an additional layer of understanding is added to the story the second time around.
The hard cover comes with a full color cover and dust jacket with holographic printing for the title. The pages are thick, and there are a couple velum pages as well which give a unique movement and interaction to the book.
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The free lavender colored book that comes with it, which is similar titled “Their Story: Story You Don’t Know”, is soft cover and staple bound. It’s a total of 12 pages long, also on thick quality paper. This mini-book is much more lighthearted, and casts “them” (the skeleton) more firmly as death. It includes things like the above exchange where the girl asks Them about the deaths in Romeo and Juliette, to which Them is forced to reply that it’s not really their fault; it’s Shakespear’s! It’s a delightful splash of fun after the more serious tone of the main book, and makes for a lovely bonus.
The book is sold out in hardcover, but there is a softcover version that is still available, along with prints and teeshirts. You can get them from Haenuli Shop.