While attending a bookseller conference inn January (a lifetime ago), I started The Book of Atlantis Black on the plane, and absolutely could not rest until I finished it a couple of days later. The more I talked to other booksellers, the more I heard the same story — once begun, no one could resist its pull. The Book of Atlantis Black is the fascinating, tragic, and utterly compelling narrative of Betsy Bonner's search for what happened to her larger-than-life sister — and who her sister may have been. Beautifully written, containing no easy answers, The Book of Atlantis Black is memoir and true crime writing at its finest. Recommended By Jill O., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A young woman is found dead on the floor of a Tijuana hotel room. An ID in a nearby purse reads "Atlantis Black." The police report states that the body does not seem to match the identification, yet the body is quickly cremated and the case is considered closed.
So begins Betsy Bonner's search for her sister, and the unraveling of the mysterious final months before her disappearance, alleged overdose, and death. With access to Atlantis' email and social media accounts, Bonner attempts to decipher and construct a narrative: frantic and unintelligible Facebook posts, alarming images of Atlantis with a handgun, Craigslist companionship ads, DEA agent testimony, video surveillance, police reports, and various phone calls and moments conjured from memory. Through a history only she and Atlantis shared--a childhood fraught with abuse and mental illness, Atlantis's precocious yet short rise in the music world, and through it all an unshakeable bond of sisterhood--Bonner finds questions that lead to only more questions and possible clues that seem to point in no particular direction. In this haunting memoir and piercing true crime account, Bonner must decide how far she will go to understand a sister who, like the mythical island she renamed herself for, might prove impossible to find.
"Maddening and fascinating. The reader is made to feel what it's like to be denied answers in an essential search." Amy Hempel, author of Sing To It
"Betsy Bonner has crafted a terse, urgent page-turner that is equally ode, elegy, and mystery." Chelsey Johnson, author of Stray City
"Suspenseful and beautiful....I'm speechless." Jeannie Vanasco, author of Things We Didn't Talk About When I Was a Girl
About the Author
Betsy Bonner is the author of Round Lake, a poetry collection published by Four Way Books. She is a faculty member of the Writer's Foundry M.F.A. program at St. Joseph's College in Brooklyn, New York and the former Director of the 92Y Unterberg Poetry Center, where she teaches an annual poetry seminar. Her work has appeared in The New Republic, The Paris Review, Parnassus, Poetry Daily, The Brooklyn Quarterly and The Southampton Review. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University and a BA from Sarah Lawrence College. She is a fellow of the MacDowell Colony, Eliot House and the VCCA, and a mentor in PEN's Prison Writing Program.