Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ghost Stories

A story of two brothers, Ghost Stories is a sad, beautiful book about regret, family, and lost connections. This second book in the Essex County Trilogy focuses on Lou Lebeuf, an elderly, deaf man who lives in the farmhouse where he grew up. The story flashes from the present to the past, with glimpses into Lou's career as a street car driver as well as the time he and his younger but very much bigger brother Vince played professional hockey. While they are away in the big city, Lou falls in love with Vince's fiancee, Beth, and what transpires afterward changes their relationship forever .

This graphic novel is the work of Jeff Lemire, a multiple award winning comics creator. He won a Xeric Award for his debut book Lost Dogs. He has also won a Young Adult Library Services Association Alex Award, a Joe Shuster Canadian Comic Book Creator Award for Outstanding Cartoonist, and the Doug Wright Award for Best Emerging Talent. Lemire talks more about his work on the Essex County Trilogy in this interview.

Reviews of Ghost Stories have been relatively positive, with most comments focusing on the powerful story and evocative art. Benjamin Jacob Hollars commented that "Lemire’s sparse and seemingly unforgiving Canadian landscape only intensifies the cool shivers that the reader finds throughout each page." Brian Heater admitted that the book is driven by melancholy but called the storytelling "so powerful" that it is very affecting. Andrew Wheeler offered a different take on this graphic novel, concluding that "I can’t quite recommend Ghost Stories: it’s technically excellent, and has a real emotional power, but its relentless dreariness turns into something almost like a parody of soap opera by the end."

A preview is available from the book's publisher Top Shelf.

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