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Essex County Volume 2: Ghost Stories (Essex County) Paperback – September 29, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Old Lou Lebeuf wanders in and out of the past in the house on the family farm where he and Vince grew up. After a brief fling in pro hockey, Vince, though good enough to have a real career, married and went back to the farm. Not Lou, who kept playing until his knee gave out. Eventually he wound up in Toronto, only going home after 25 years, when Mom died, and then not again until an accident left Vince crippled and widowed. When Vince died, that left Lou alone. As always, Lou thinks, also thinking he knows why: the night he made out with Vince’s fiancée—definitely the reason Vince wouldn’t have Lou coming back after Mom was buried. Lemire handles the stuff of a Willa Cather novel with equal poetry, though in images made of lines and spaces rather than words. He renders emotion and temperament in a cartoon face with breathtaking, masterful economy. He manages transitions between present and past and sequences of magic realism as deftly and hauntingly as Ingmar Bergman in Wild Strawberries and Orson Welles in Citizen Kane. Is it too soon to say that Lemire is a major graphic novelist? --Ray Olson

Review

Old Lou Lebeuf wanders in and out of the past in the house on the family farm where he and Vince grew up. After a brief fling in pro hockey, Vince, though good enough to have a real career, married and went back to the farm. Not Lou, who kept playing until his knee gave out. Eventually he wound up in Toronto, only going home after 25 years, when Mom died, and then not again until an accident left Vince crippled and widowed. When Vince died, that left Lou alone. As always, Lou thinks, also thinking he knows why: the night he made out with Vince's fiancée definitely the reason Vince wouldn t have Lou coming back after Mom was buried. Lemire handles the stuff of a Willa Cather novel with equal poetry, though in images made of lines and spaces rather than words. He renders emotion and temperament in a cartoon face with breathtaking, masterful economy. He manages transitions between present and past and sequences of magic realism as deftly and hauntingly as Ingmar Bergman in Wild Strawberries and Orson Welles in Citizen Kane. Is it too soon to say that Lemire is a major graphic novelist? --Booklist (starred review)

Lemire's pen renders the town and farm land in the bleakest black and white, with lines that are like gashes in the characters' souls. Their pasts are reflected in their faces, craggy and broken like the earth they walk on -- it's a stylistic triumph of sequential illustration. --John E. Mitchell, North Adams (MA) Transcript

I just finished a great graphic novel called Ghost Stories by Jeff Lemire. I had tears in my eyes when I was done, and I really didn't expect it to take that kind of toll; after all, it's about an old man who used to be a hockey player. Lemire is a gifted storyteller, and his book is equal parts Field of Dreams and, say, Fried Green Tomatoes. It gave me a new appreciation for life on the ice. --Whitney Matheson, USA Today
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Product Details

  • Series: Essex County (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Top Shelf Productions (September 29, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1891830945
  • ISBN-13: 978-1891830945
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #971,824 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Award-winning Canadian cartoonist Jeff Lemire is the creator of the acclaimed monthly comic book series SWEET TOOTH published by DC/Vertigo and the award winning graphic novel ESSEX COUNTY published by Top Shelf. He also writes ANIMAL MAN, FRANKENSTEIN AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E. and SUPERBOY for DC Comics.

In 2008 Jeff won the Schuster Award for Best Canadian Cartoonist, and The Doug Wright Award for Best Emerging Talent. He also won the American Library Association's prestigious Alex Award, recognizing books for adults with specific teen appeal. In 2010 Essex County was named as one of the five Essential Canadian Novels of the Decade!

Recently named one of Wizard magazines 25 "rising stars", Jeff is also hard at work on a new graphic novel for Top Shelf called THE UNDERWATER WELDER, due in 2012. He currently lives and works in Toronto with his wife and son.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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4 star
17%
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See all 6 customer reviews
This is a book you will revisit again and again.
Z. Harward
Both books in this series of what is to be a trilogy have been so well written and drawn, that my head has fallen off each time I read them, and I keep going back.
Jason M. Kreska
Lemire's story is full of depth and haunting loneliness.
Christina Lockstein

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Guy L. Gonzalez on December 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
Jeff Lemire's Ghost Stories is technically a sequel to Tales From The Farm, the first volume in his Essex County (Canada, not Jersey) trilogy, but you don't need to have read it to enjoy the engaging tale of Lou Lebeuf, an almost-was hockey star in the early 50s, and his younger brother Vince, a genuine phenom who chooses family life on the farm over superstardom, a decision that has far-reaching repercussions.

Lou -- a lonely old man, deaf and seemingly suffering from Alzheimer's -- tells their story via flashbacks that often drift into and out of hallucinations, and Lemire's precise black-and-white artwork, deftly shifting between the realistic and metaphorical, beautifully communicates every emotion, both those on the surface and those bubbling underneath. The underlying premise of city mouse/country mouse plays out across seven decades, shifting back-and-forth in time as the titular Ghost Stories are the haunting memories of Lou's past that hinge on two key moments: his brother's decision to give up hockey, and his own one-night affair with his sister-in-law. He's a compelling figure whose ultimate fate is self-directed and hard-earned, yet he never comes off as unlikeable and Lemire never judges him one way or the other.

Another winner from Top Shelf and highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Christina Lockstein on March 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
Ghost Stories: Essex County Vol. 2 by Jeff Lemire is the second volume in the trilogy of graphic novels about a fictionalized version of Essex County, Ontario where Lemire grew up. I read the first volume, Tales from the Farm, quite some time ago but you don't need to have read that one in order to appreciate this beautiful story. Lou LeBeuf is living out his last days in a nursing home and drifting in and out of memories from his past, reliving moments before he dies. The book is almost elegiac and wonderfully lyrical. Lemire's art takes a bit of adjustment, but once the reader is caught in the story, you can see that it suits the tale completely. He captures faces with just a few perfectly rendered lines. Lou's regret colors every page, but as he remembers a night of passion, he realizes that despite the damage it did to his life and family relationships, he wouldn't change a thing just to have that one moment of beauty and love in his life. I love Lemire's almost surrealistic drawings like Lou lying across the entire city of Toronto as he comments that he has become a part of the city and is slowly losing himself. Lemire's story is full of depth and haunting loneliness.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jason M. Kreska on April 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
Both books in this series of what is to be a trilogy have been so well written and drawn, that my head has fallen off each time I read them, and I keep going back.
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