When Mavala Shikongo deserted them, the teachers at the boys' school in Goas weren't surprised. How could they be? She was too beautiful, too powerful, and too mysterious for their tiny, remote, and arid world. They knew only one essential fact about their departed colleague: she was a combat veteran of Namibia's brutal war for independence. When Mavala returns to Goas with a baby son, all are awed by her boldness. The teachers try hard, once again, not to fall in love with her. They fail, immediately and miserably, especially the American volunteer, Larry Kaplanski.
"A starvation diary about desire, with as much sexual tension as a bodicebuster? Orner hits the right notes and no others."
-New York Times Book Revew
"Lyrical, comical, full-blown . . . A gifted short-story writer gives us his first booklength work of fiction, and does so with flair and panache."
"Mavala Shikongo is one of the most deftly rendered and unforgettable characters in recent fiction. The men of Goas fall in love with her and the reader is helpless, too--she is a revolution unto herself. Orner's book is always elegant and always true, and its wistful and even hallucinatory mood haunts the mind for months after finishing it."
"Peter Orner's debut reads like a perfectly formed masterpiece of such idiosyncratic
voice and story that I can't imagine my shelves now without it."