We are Made of Earth
When an overcrowded dinghy capsizes at sea, a doctor is among those refugees thrown overboard. In the ensuing panic, he saves one life and condemns another. The doctor and the boy he has saved-the only surviving witness to the crime-eventually reach a tiny Greek island where they are offered shelter by the owner of a small travelling circus, itself marooned in the off-season. Debt-ridden, the circus owner knows that his most valuable asset is an Asian elephant, far from her natural habitat but lovingly tended by the owner’s wife even as she mourns their 10-year old daughter.
As the refugees await a long-deferred ferry to take them onto the next stage of their journey, the doctor is drawn to his host’s wife, all the while keeping his young companion, who loves him fervently, at arm’s length.
The literary find of the year - Annie Proulx; 'Exploring sin, guilt and atonement, this dazzling study of displaced lives has the universalising succinctness, moral complexity and ironic force of the greatest novellas. Disaster looms in the seed of every phrase-and yet its tone is neutral, distanced, and the dark narrative is spellbinding.' The Guardian; 'Karnezis' story stirs the emotion, the anger and sadness, and empathy for refugees. He has a way of telling a story that feels grounded and flighty at the same time, not exactly surreal but just a little bit off kilter, both entertaining and hard hitting. Melancholic, loaded with pathos this is a gripping read, perhaps it is also an important one.' NB Magazine, 4/4 stars; 'Visceral, heartbreaking stuff... realistic and thoughtful.' The Observer
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