Guestbook: Ghost Stories

Leanne Shapton. Riverhead, $30 (320p) ISBN 978-0-399-15818-6
This clever and evocative volume from Shapton (Women in Clothes; Swimming Studies) collects ghost stories ranging from the eerie to the tender. Through images and captions, “Billy Byron” tells the story of a tennis whiz who seems both helped athletically and damaged physically and mentally by a presence named Walter. “Equalussuaq” juxtaposes passengers’ fancy and extensive requests for food and drink aboard a boat (“Complicated cocktail party canapés are not our style”; “Three white wines should be available”) alongside images of Greenland sharks and that animal’s strange food-related life (“The flesh of the shark when fresh is indigestible and unwholesome: when dried it has a flavor like that of old cheese”; “Copepods cling to and scrape the eye of the Greenland shark”). In “Sinforosa,” a girl knows her favorite teacher has died when she wakes up and her bedroom smells like his soap. From the experimental and the visual (“Who Is This Who Is Coming?” is a series of six images of a figure under a sheet) to the more traditionally narrative (“Video” is a one-page story about a dark figure caught in a cellphone video), Shapton inventively explores the space between presence and absence, craftily blending images and text to articulate what cannot be explained, only sensed, making for a uniquely haunting and uncanny work. B&w illus. and photos throughout, 32 pages in full color. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/17/2019
Release date: 03/26/2019
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 978-0-525-53907-0
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