cover image Jack and The Ghost

Jack and The Ghost

Chan Poling and Lucy Mitchell. Univ. of Minnesota Press, $17.95 (72p) ISBN 978-1-5179-0571-2

This melancholic adult picture book comes across like an adapted folk song. Set in the fictional town of Greyshore on the edge of a large lake, the tale begins with the sinking of the ship Thessaly. The only survivor is Jack, a fisherman, who lost both parents and his fiancée in the shipwreck. Jack now lives alone between the water and the cemetery and is haunted by grief and an actual ghost. Jack’s only friend, coffee shop owner Red, tries to draw Jack’s attention back to the world of the living, but Jack can’t let go of the mysterious spirit. When he chases it out onto the docks during a storm, Red thinks she has lost him forever. The palette of the delicate paintings and ink drawings is dominated by blues and grays. The washy style captures the fog of Jack’s depression but proves somewhat less effective during the frantic and tense storm scenes. The poetic pacing of the sorrowful story conjures the fancy that it would be best read out loud in a pub, fireside, with a storm battering the windows. But unless that specific opportunity arises, this slim, dreamy tale is suited to particular, quaint tastes. Agent: Dawn Frederick, Red Sofa Literary. [em](Sept.) [/em]