“Five Europeans travel through Africa along the trail of the journey described in one of his books by a European writer. With his descriptions so much in their minds that they mistake them for their own observations, they are unable to see the real Africa through which they pass, and because they don’t get involved with each other in any meaningful way they remain like blurred shadows even to each other. They are unable to break free from the perceptions they brought with them – perceptions that were created (and were then fixed in their minds) by the books they had read. Only one character, a young woman Adriana, is aware that what we call “I”, and “I think”, and “that’s me”, is more or less fiction, created by circumstances, and by facts and narrative patterns we have absorbed, and is therefore not fixed but fluid, so it can be to a large extent manipulated. And so she creates different identities for herself, moving from one to the other at will, depending on circumstances, believing that she is fully in charge of herself and her destiny. But it turns out that this is not so. Not only does her behavior affect the destinies of other people, she herself finally realizes that she is in fact filled not with authentic life but with self-created emptiness. An excellent novel about serious questions, using postmodern narrative patterns playfully and with confidence.”
From an introduction at the launch of the book at the Tata International Literature Festival in Mumbai, India, 2014, by Amitava Kumar, professor of literature at Vassar College, New York.