Jacqueline has gotten away – at least geographically. Having escaped Liberia, she wanders a Greek island trying to find a place, though she wonders if there is a permanent place for her. She must focus on food, water, shelter. This focus allows her to keep story and memory at bay, for a while. But story and memory creep into her thoughts and intrude on and then invade the story. And then they turn out to be just as urgent as food, water and shelter. The voice of Jacqueline’s mother guides her in this new life until she is able to find someone, a kind waitress, who will listen to her story, who knows that Jacqueline has a story that must be told out loud.

Maksik’s prose is pitch perfect. He creates tension in Jacqueline’s every step, from offering a massage to earn money, to eating a sandwich, to trying to deal with someone who is trying to be kind to her. It takes until she is at a kind of marker at the end of the world until she can begin to find her way back to herself. Jacqueline is hungry, for food, for companionship, for sanity, for redemption. The problem and blessing is that she survived, was allowed to survive, and was told to tell her story.

Powerful, important and necessary.

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