cover image On Fragile Waves

On Fragile Waves

E. Lily Yu. Erewhon, $25.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-64566-009-5

Yu’s outstanding debut opens with an enticing work of visual poetry that sets the stage for a story built of stories about the hopes of a family searching for a place where they can feel safe. Firuzeh and her family flee Afghanistan in the middle of the night, trusting hearsay that the people smugglers escorting them are honest. As they travel by land, air, and boat, the family endures cramped quarters, a waning food and water supply, and a storm that takes refugees’ lives, but Firuzeh fills even the tensest moments of their journey with fantastical stories of what their lives will be once they’ve reached Australia. Unfortunately, once they do reach their destination, the dream of freedom, safety, and comfort remains elusive in the face of poor living conditions and xenophobia. In flowing, lyrical prose, Yu showcases the power of folklore and the pain of displacement. This is a knockout. Agent: Markus Hoffman, Regal Hoffman & Assoc. (Feb.)