The Book of Atlantis Black

Tin House. Aug. 2020. 280p. ISBN 9781947793774. $26.95. MEMOIR
Bonner (creative writing, St. Joseph’s Coll.; Round Lake) invites readers into the intimate, complex search for her sister, Atlantis Black, and the unsettling circumstances surrounding her disappearance. Bonner skillfully blends aspects of true crime, from Atlantis’s mysterious relationships to challenges of the investigation, with a thoughtful, lyrical memoir. The resulting story is personal and poetic. The investigation into Atlantis’s disappearance is interwoven with Bonner’s memories of their childhood, and the mental illness and abuse within their family. Atlantis’s voice appears throughout the book in social media posts, emails, and video transcripts, lending personality to the story’s central figure and allowing readers to create a connection with her. Bonner’s writing is measured as it moves seamlessly from investigation to reflection. Readers interested in the intersections of crime, memoir, and family may also enjoy Leah Carroll’s Down City: A Daughter’s Story of Love, Memory, and Murder.
VERDICT A haunting, profound investigative memoir that will resonate with readers as both a compelling true crime story and an affecting literary work. Bonner creates a sense of closeness with readers that makes this book a challenge to put down or forget. [See Prepub Alert, 1/29/2020.]
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