cover image South


Babak Lakghomi. Dundurn, $17.99 trade paper (200p) ISBN 978-1-4597-5081-4

Lakghomi (Floating Notes) offers an evocative if diffuse story of a journalist embedded on an offshore oil rig in an unnamed totalitarian country. B, the protagonist, drives across a desert to reach the rig, having accepted the far-flung assignment out of desperation for work. Once there, the company forces him to hand over his laptop and phone, thus limiting his contact with his wife and adding to the strain on a marriage already damaged by his infidelity. He is set up in a room with a cook who has been working on the rig for 20 years, who shows him around but is unable to tell him much information. The story shifts after a man sets himself on fire on the rig for reasons unclear to B, and he leaves the rig. From there, Lakghomi puts B in dangerous and vaguely described situations—featuring forced interrogations, sensory deprivation, and hallucinogenic drugs, and having something to do with a book he’d published about his dissident father. Amid the drama, the author keenly explores effects of authoritarianism and alienation on the characters. The fast pace will keep readers hooked despite the murky details. Agent: Akin Akinwumi, Willenfield Literary Agency. (Aug.)