Book Review

the underwater welder by jeff lemire

spooky graphic novel

written” April 28thish

it’s been a while since i read a graphic novel (or maybe it hasn’t, who knows, time is weird now) but i’ve spent the last two days catching up on Queen Mob’s Satire submissions full time.

So. Many. Emails.

Lots of offensive texts to politely decline, but also lots of exciting, funny pieces – some good to go, some needing a little work…

I’ve enjoyed beginning the process of working with writers to help them hone their ideas into something good.

V earnest for me! What a time 2 b alive!!!

soooooooooooooooooooo

i read this graphic novel and it’s not really the kind of thing i ordinarily go for, but jeff lemire is someone i think i’ve read before, if not he’s certainly someone who i’ve thought about reading for a long time, his book Essex County – which I haven’t read – is meant to be like one of the most acclaimed graphic novels of all time. I’ll read it if i ever see a copy if i ever enter a bookshop again who knows what will come out of covid the other side – will we still be the same? will we still be people? will the lockdown end before nintendo switches are restocked across canada? now my one lockdown dream – now i’m on top of all the creative things i was not on top of before – is to get to spend a week playing mario full time. ive probably written that on here multiple times already but it has defo become my big big dream of lockdown

knowing my luck – i’m usually pretty lucky tbf – it will be fine, but only just.

so, right, the underwater welder is about an underwater welder who is racked by grief for his dad’s death twenty years before or something, and as his heavily-pregnant wife is weeks from giving birth he goes back to work as an underwater welder on the oil rig where he’s an underwater welder (despite her asking him not to and all his colleagues being all like “is ur wife really ok with you being out here when she’s like two weeks from due date???”) but he’s obsessed with being under the water and welding and he sees an old pocketwatch on the ocean bed and it looks like something his dad gave him and he threw into the ocean on the last day before his dad disappeared presumed drowned but then he like runs out of oxygen and is sent back to the mainland and his mother and wife and colleagues are all like “best place for him, wife’s about to give birth” but instead he like steals a boat and goes diving down to the places underwater where he works as an underwater welder looking for this pocketwatch and when he finds it and touches it he’s like transported to an alternate world (which he swims up to from under the water) and the oil rig and then the town are all completely deserted/half-destroyed and he can’t leave and there’s a part of him that’s like yeah yeah yeah im alone i hate people this is fucking great but then he realises that it’s bad to be alone so he swims back out and dives down to where he was an underwater welder and touches the pocketwatch again and then he’s back home being like rescued by a colleague and he goes to the hospital and his wife is alive and the baby is safe and rather than being angry she’s like pleased that he’s back but really his behaviour in the weeks and months before the birth show that he’s ill-suited to parenthood and also being a mature, reliable partner for his wife so it’s pretty obvious at the end that the marriage will end badly, he’ll be an absent father and likely an alcoholic who dies early like his own dad and even though all the faces on the last page are like happy i don’t think the ending is.

it’s a graphic novel, black and white (i think throughout) and it’s atmospheric and creepy and moody and yeah a little moving, too

it’s good, solid, strong, though not life-changing and i doubt i’ll ever mention it in a conversation (or likely on this blog) ever ever ever again

byeeeeeeeeeee


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