A Gift for a Ghost

Borja González, trans. from the Spanish by Lee Douglas. Abrams ComicArts, $24.99 (128p) ISBN 978-1-4197-4013-8
The lives of two teenage girls living 160 years apart intertwine in this magical coming-of-age story. In 1856, Theresa, an insouciant young woman with a taste for gothic poetry, is on the cusp of her debut into society and facing the expectations that come with it. In 2016, Laura, wearing a new costume each time she appears (sometimes as a fairy princess, sometimes a skeleton), writes inscrutable lyrics for her all-girl punk band. The mystery at the heart of this evocative graphic novel is exactly what connects these two girls, and the book cannily uses the artwork to provide clues. Teresa’s story appears in muted autumnal colors, while Laura’s is in black-and-white, except where pops of color escape from Teresa’s narrative—butterflies, ice cream, a cat, a costume. Each page is elegantly composed, with flat blacks that invoke a Mike Mignola–esque chiaroscuro. Though the figures are faceless, each character has a distinctive personality and body language that mark them as individuals. The idiosyncrasies of teenage girls’ friendships and sibling relationships are quietly conveyed and thoroughly believable. Combining understated visual storytelling and dialogue with gentle fantasy, this mystical story is wonderfully grounded in real emotion and experiences. (May)
Reviewed on : 12/12/2019
Release date: 05/01/2020
Genre: Comics
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