Book Review: "Windows On The World"
On September 11, 2001, in the wake of terrorist attacks, many Americans felt like survivors, especially New Yorkers, most especially first responders and families of the victims. We read news accounts, saw their faces on fliers, journalists interviewed them. But of the undocumented immigrants who perished, there were no photos that appeared on walls and no one to comfort their families. Robert Mailer Anderson, Zack Anderson and Jon Sack have collaborated on a graphic novel, Windows On The World, published by Fantagraphics, that tells one such story of an undocumented worker working as a dishwasher at Windows of the World atop the World Trade Center. Watching the news from Mexico, his terrified wife thinks she sees him running away from the doomed building, and their son Fernando decides to go to New York to find him. Dramatic black-and-white linework guides the emotions that grip every scene in his journey, from the perils of traveling through the desert, to the impact of arriving in New York City, only to arrive at the rescue center and be told, ”If your father didn’t officially work in the Towers, he can’t officially be missing.” From hopeless to homeless, from lost to found, we learn what Fernando discovers on reaching his destination. More importantly, we realize that the story is ongoing for “unofficial” immigrants who, during covid, are afraid to seek medical aid and a modicum of pandemic relief. The stark black-and-white drawing brands the book with the impact this story deserves. —Gwynned Vitello