The Book of Atlantis Black: The Search for a Sister Gone Missing

This tale took just a bit of getting into, and then I was hooked and couldn’t quit. Here is the description:

Reminiscent of Alex Marzano-Lesnevich’s The Fact of a Body and Robert Kolker’s Lost Girls, with equal parts memoir and true crime, The Book of Atlantis Black will have you questioning facts, rooting for secrets, and asking what it means to know the truth.

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.


My thoughts:  I found this to be a rather gripping read that kept me coming back for more. I was always wanting to know what was going on, and what was coming next. Then it was the curiosity of how it was going to turn out. It really pulled me in, for sure. It certainly got my mind off of the stress of the things that have been going on around the US lately, what virus?! Takes you out of your own situation and that can be a good thing for the hours you are reading. A nice escape. This was a book that wasn’t available to request, I could only “Wish” for an advance electronic copy on NetGalley, and I got lucky and was chosen. Just thrilled. Advanced electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Betsy Bonner, and the publisher.






Publisher: Tin House Books – 280 pages
Publication: Aug 4th, 2020
My rating: 4/5 Stars


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.


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