Pittsburgh is the story of a family, and a city. Frank Santoro faces a straightforward yet heart-rending reality: His parents, once high-school sweethearts, now never speak to each other—despite working in the same building. Stuck in the middle, he tries to understand. The result is this book.
Using markers, pencils, scissors, and tape, with a variety of papers, drawing in vivid colors and exuberant lines, Santoro constructs a multi-generational retelling of their lives. Framed by his parents’ courtship and marriage, and set amid the vital but fading neighborhood streets, the pages of Pittsburgh are filled with details both quotidian and dramatic—from his childhood mishaps to his father’s trauma in Vietnam—interspersed throughout with the mute witness of the family dog, Pretzel.
Santoro, the acclaimed author of Storeyville and Pompeii, has created his masterpiece. Pittsburgh is an extraordinary reimagining of the comics form to depict the processes of memory, and a powerful, searching account of a family taking shape, falling apart, and struggling to reinvent itself, as the city around them does the same.