Jeff Lemire (4 stars)

Jeff Lemire

Essex County Vol 2: Ghost Stories (Top Shelf)


The second volume of an interconnected trilogy of graphic novels set in a fictionalised version of Essex County, Ontario is almost unbearably poignant. Ghost Stories follows the lives of brothers Lou and Vince Lebeuf over the course of seven decades, from their youthful adventures as the star players in a big city hockey team through 25 years of self-imposed separation to their last days as a pair of crotchety old boys living on the family farm. Narrated by the elder brother Lou, whose hearing and memory are impaired, the tale unfolds in a series of flashbacks that reveal what came between the once close siblings.

The characters are finely nuanced, their relationship astutely observed and the settings carefully detailed. And Lemire’s sad and affecting story is well served by his beautifully bleak, scratchy, black and white artwork. We eagerly await volume three, The Country Nurse.

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