Hallman spent hundreds of hours and more than 10 months reporting for this series, about a disfigured young boy in Oregon. He says he did very little reconstruction, that most of the scenes are based on his observation. We admire much of the writing, which exudes compassion, a kind of gentleness, while remaining detached. Notice the intimacy and quietness of the lead, which sets the tone: the attention to gesture, to the quality of the light in the room; the small, close details of cat, vegetables and card game. Notice the ways in which Hallman evokes our concern for his subject before telling us exactly why we should care.

Read “The Boy Behind the Mask,” by Tom Hallman Jr.

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