Entertainment Weekly

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Article

Book Review: 'Yellow Jack'

Posted on

Yellow Jack

type:
Book
Current Status:
In Season
author:
68905
genre:
Fiction

We gave it an A-

Set amid the yellow-fever epidemic in 1840s New Orleans, this taut, atmospheric first novel follows the brief, amoral career of young photographer Claude Marchand. Apprentice to real-life photography inventor Louis Daguerre, Claude steals one of his mentor’s cameras and opens a studio specializing in ghoulish ”memorial portraits” of the dead. Claude’s affairs with two women — sophisticated, voodoo-dabbling Creole prostitute Millicent, and sexy, selfish society girl Vivian — are depicted through three sharply focused, alternating perspectives: Claude’s blustering voice, Millicent’s insightful diary, and a photo historian’s dispassionate commentary. Thanks to his artful plot, Russell’s fictional portrait proves luminously haunting. A-

Comments