Author: Mark Siegel
Publication Information: 1st ed. New York: First Second, 2012
Library of Congress Classification: PN6727.S51549
Dewey Classification: 741.5
Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Mermaids—Comic books, strips, etc.
Hudson River (N.Y. and N.J.)—Comic books, strips, etc.
This book was written by someone who lives in Tarrytown and who did his research for the book at the Historical Society of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow.
Sailor Twain takes place in the late 19th century. Twain is the captain of a river vessel that sails up and down the Hudson from New York City to Albany. He works for a Frenchman, Jacques Henri de Lafayette, who is also his friend. Jacques’ brother Dieudonne later joins him in the business. Jacques mysteriously disappears, and Dieudonne takes control, but he is no businessman like his brother. Dieudonne spends much of his time chasing women–single and married–and leaves Twain much to do whatever he likes.
It gets interesting when Twain finds a wounded mermaid. She becomes his muse and he becomes entranced with her. All I can really say is that Siegel crafts the lore surrounding mermaids into the story. Jacques’ disappearance, Dieudonne’s juggling several misteresses, and Twain’s obsession with the mermaid all come together in the end. Meanwhile, the poor, wheelchair-bound wife of Twain becomes more neglected over time. (I thought that she was suffering from consumption.) The book ends with an interesting twist.
The illustrations are black and white. The art is rather cartoonish, but it works. It’s understandable why this was a New York Times bestseller. It’s quite entertaining. I didn’t like putting it down because I wanted to see how it ended.