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A captivating and transporting travel novel, Scorpionfish reveals how what we leave behind may be exactly what we've been looking for all along.
After the unexpected deaths of her parents, young academic Mira returns to her childhood home in Athens. On her first night back, she encounters a new neighbor, a longtime ship captain who has found himself, for the first time in years, no longer at sea. As one summer night tumbles into another, Mira and the Captain’s voices drift across the balconies of their apartments, disclosing details and stories: of careers, of families, of love.
For Mira, love has so often meant Aris, an ex-boyfriend and rising Greek politician who has recently become engaged to a movie star. There is, too, her love for her dear friend Nefeli—a well-known queer artist who came of age during the military dictatorship—as well as Dimitra and Fady, a couple caring for a young refugee boy. Undergirding each relationship is the love that these characters have for Athens, a beautiful but complicated city that is equal parts lushness and sharp edges.
Scorpionfish is a map of how—and where—we find our true selves: in the pull of the sea, the sway of late-night bar music, the risk and promise of art, and—perhaps most of all—in the sparkling, electric, summertime charge of endless possibility. Award-winning author Natalie Bakopoulos weaves a story of vulnerability, desire, and bittersweet truth, unraveling old ways of living and, in the end, creating something new.
About the Author: Natalie Bakopoulos is the author of The Green Shore (Simon & Schuster, 2012), and her work has appeared in Tin House, the Iowa Review, the New York Times, Granta, Ploughshares, and O. Henry Prize Stories. She's an assistant professor of creative writing at Wayne State University and a faculty member of the summer program Writing Workshops in Greece.
“Scorpionfish dazzles, fierce and tender in turn. The clarity of its insights about love and loss and grief will break you and remake you. Savor it, and it will leave you changed.” - Jesmyn Ward, author of Salvage the Bones and Sing, Unburied, Sing
“Scorpionfish is a riveting, elegant novel keenly observed in the manner of Elena Ferrante and Rachel Cusk. A divine, chiseled stunner.” - Claire Vaye Watkins
“Bakopoulos writes of her expatriates and exiles, immigrants and refugees, with such intimacy, tenderness and wisdom, intuiting as she does that these are all states of grief. The stoicism with which her characters bear their various loses – portrayed in limpid, pensive prose reminiscent of Rachel Cusk – is deeply affecting.” - Peter Ho Davies, author of The Fortunes and The Welsh Girl
“Scorpionfish is transporting, a finely tuned story about art and friendship and the weight of history. Against the backdrop of the Greek economic crisis, Natalie Bakopoulos depicts Athens and island life with grace and accuracy, telling a story of return at once deeply personal and universal. A moving novel with an unexpected undertow.” - Cara Hoffman, author of Running