cover image Windows on the World

Windows on the World

Robert Mailer Anderson, Zack Anderson, and Jon Sack. Fantagraphics, $24.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-68-396322-6

This heart-wrenching 9/11 drama draws back the curtains on American myths, revealing a global and complicated world. Fernando is a college dropout working as a bellhop and reading Don Quixote in his native Mazatlan, Mexico, when the Twin Towers fall. His father, Balthazar, works as a dishwasher in the Windows on the World restaurant and sends money home to his family. Fernando’s mother spots Balthazar in a news clip of people fleeing the wreckage and soon Fernando is making his way to New York City. At a 9/11 rescue center, he’s told that “if [your father] didn’t officially work in the Towers, he can’t officially be missing.” From Downtown to Spanish Harlem, Fernando navigates a minefield of racism in the grieving city—and finds romance or something adjacent along the way. Joining a crew of Nigerian window washers, Fernando gains more insight into inequities with each swipe of his squeegee. Though he begins to mourn his father, he later discovers his disappearance is due to a smaller, domestic tragedy. The art is bold, cinematic, and deeply shadowed, and the unexpected ending is a product of cynical wisdom from looking back at the two decades since the event, and stronger for it. This is a resonant tale for troubling times. (May)