Scorpionfish

Natalie Bakopoulos. Tin House, $16.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-947793-75-0
In Bakopoulos’s ruminative follow-up to The Green Shore, 30-something Mira returns from the U.S. to Greece after her parents’ deaths to clean out the apartment she grew up in. The city she encounters is not the one of her childhood. Athens is plagued by strikes, drugs, the government debt crisis, and the junta, and refugees hoping for a better future have migrated to the city, “the safest dangerous place in the world.” Like the city itself, Mira’s sense of self is in flux as she lingers in her parents’ apartment . Enter the Captain. Mira’s new neighbor is an older man recently separated from his wife and children who prefers the “placeless universality of the sea” to land. Both spend the summer figuring out who they are in the wake of huge life changes as they explore the city with old friends: Fady and Dimitra, who have taken in a refugee; Aris, Mira’s ex-boyfriend, a rising politician and father-to-be; and Nefeli, an older artist Mira’s known since childhood, who understands, better than anyone, how the past, present, and future selves coexist. While Bakopoulos’s emphasis on themes of identity is at times heavy-handed, she skillfully captures the characters’ sense of feeling stuck between stations. This riff on the adage that you can never go home poses essential questions on what it means to belong. Agent: Amy Williams, the Williams Company. (July)
Reviewed on : 04/16/2020
Release date: 07/07/2020
Genre: Fiction
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