Jack’s Wagers by Wirton Arvel is a bilingual (English-Italian) fictional rendition of the Celtic legend of Jack O’Lantern and the origin of Halloween.
Arvel melds ancient Celtic myths and current cultural constructs in an amusing, yet informative, account of how a ne’er-do-well named Jack beat the Devil twice, and in the process discovered some profound truths about life and himself.
Takes some effort to read because the two languages are set side by side on the pages, but once you become accustomed to the layout, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable read. Arvel has a unique way of telling the story, adding a level of intimacy that I found interesting and entertaining, and shows Jack’s growth with each successive encounter with the Devil and with himself. He also makes the celebration of Halloween make a lot more sense than it did before I read this book.
It was well worth the effort and I highly recommend it. I give it four stars.