Book Review: The Underwater Welder
“𝘐𝘵’𝘴 𝘢𝘮𝘢𝘻𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘩𝘰𝘸 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘣𝘳𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘴 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘥𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘸𝘢𝘺𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘢𝘷𝘰𝘪𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘵𝘩. 𝘌𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦’𝘴 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘥𝘰𝘯’𝘵 𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘧𝘢𝘤𝘦 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘧, 𝘰𝘳 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘦. 𝘞𝘦 𝘯𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘨𝘦𝘵 𝘵𝘪𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘧 𝘳𝘶𝘯𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘷𝘦𝘴. 𝘕𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘨𝘦𝘵 𝘵𝘪𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘧 𝘮𝘢𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘦𝘹𝘤𝘶𝘴𝘦𝘴”
Any @jefflemire fans in the house?? I read this in one sitting and it’s fantastic! Because of quarantine (and a tight budget) I have been using my free Kindle Unlimited trial more and more to find free books to read. I’ve been wanting to read more Jeff Lemire for awhile, so I was stoked to find this title on there. It was my first time reading a comic on the tablet, but I didn’t hate it as much as I thought I would.
SUMMARY: Pressure. As an underwater welder on an oil rig off the coast of Nova Scotia, Jack Joseph is used to the immense pressures of deep-sea work. Nothing, however, could prepare him for the pressures of impending fatherhood. As Jack dives deeper and deeper, he seems to pull further and further away from his young wife and their unborn son. But then, something happens deep on the ocean floor. Jack has a strange and mind-bending encounter that will change the course of his life forever! Equal parts blue-collar character study and mind-bending science fiction epic, The Underwater Welder explores fathers and sons, birth and death, memory and truth, and the treasures we all bury deep down inside.
Briefly, the the graphic novel focuses on a man named Jack who is/was/will be an underwater welder (that will make sense if you read it). His wife is pregnant and his dad disappeared on Halloween when he was ten. Jack dives to escape his uncertain present, but one day he encounters a mysterious and supernatural event that will force him to uncover his hidden past and come to understand his future
Lemire is great at writing real pain, trauma, grief, and loss into his works. These haunting emotions come out of the page in very believable and humanistic ways. He also likes to play around with memory and time jumps (we see scenes from Jack’s present and past as the line between the two begins to blur). All of these facets are on in incredible display here. It reminds me of an episode of The Twilight Zone, but even more heartfelt.
Also, his black and white style with illustration is perfect for the stories he creates. Take a look at some of the screenshots below and you’ll see what I mean. Some consider “Essex County” to be his magnum opus and, while that’s very good, I think I like this little gem even more!