Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire

Jeff Lemire's latest graphic novel takes place in our neck of the woods, Nova Scotia. The book is drawn completely in black & white, based on an experience of an emotionally disturbed underwater welding named Jack who goes home to Tigg's Bay for work to support his unborn baby.

As the story goes, Jack has a baby on the way and is rarely there for his pregnant wife Suse. He wants to be, but after a submerged accident resulting in probable oxygen deprivation, he begins to relive the experiences of his childhood and confront the haunting details of his father's death. His father, being a hopeless alcoholic who although loves his son, fails to be there for him.

The book echoes all the alcohol riddled back-story of any fisherman's children. A family torn apart by alcohol and dangerous work, leading to an adulthood haunted by one's history, breaking up a family that hasn't even started yet. This all hits uncomfortably close to home. Say what you want about Jeff Lemire, (seriously, say what you want) he got Nova Scotia right in this book.

At least it all has a happy ending, like a Christmas Carol inspired bender, the man learns to cherish the present and future instead of being bitter and lonely in his past. Read it, you'll probably cry if you grew up in Nova Scotia.

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