Book review: The Baltimore Atrocities

Comics artist and writer John Dermot Woods, A&S '02 (MA), plunges into life's cruelties with this arresting illustrated novel. The Baltimore Atrocities (Coffee House Press, 2014) follows two young men's stay in Baltimore as they search for clues to finding their siblings, who went missing there as kids. Each chapter in this quasi-detective story includes a series of newspaperlike shorts— marriages disintegrating, suicides committed, businesses abandoned, relatives forgotten. They are the titular atrocities. Woods never resolves the protagonists' mystery; instead, he amasses stories to paint a city's portrait as a group of anonymous, despondent stars, alone in their individual oblivions but together still forming a constellation that can burn bright. Disarmingly moving.

Posted in Arts+Culture