Laureen Vonnegut Oasis: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9781582433608

Oasis: A Novel

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A Russian beauty, her dead Moroccan husband and a tiny oasis of bizarre and untrustworthy characters conspire to make a fever dream of a novel in this rich debut. The Western Sahara desert is to some a void, to others a refuge, and to still others a home worth fighting for. Lili stumbles into the centre of this exotic world as she escapes a husband she never wanted, even as he lies gasping in the sand next to his expensive car, his gold chains ripped from his neck. But why have they come to this desolate place and why has she stood calmly by while he takes what must be his final breaths? "Oasis" is thrilling from page one, taking us from the cold of poverty-stricken Russia to the depths of the Bosphorus, the high-priced hotels of Morocco, and the sandy, sultry confines of a shimmering oasis, where Lili finally comes to rest long enough to unravel the lies that have driven her to this tiny outpost of humanity. Set against a political conflict that is tearing the Sahara apart under her feet, "Oasis" is women's literary fiction at its finest - part love story, part mystery, but entirely a rapturous read. Laureen Vonnegut's debut is a timeless tale of one woman's struggle to overcome her life of captivity and call the world her own.

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About the Author:

Laureen Vonnegut 's fiction has been published worldwide and was short-listed for the Ian St. James Award in England. She is the writer and co-producer with Bruno Coppola of the short film Stuff That Bear!, which has won fifteen awards at international film festivals. She lives in Romania.

From Publishers Weekly:

An impoverished Russian sold into sexual slavery at 15, Lili, now 22, finds herself at the mercy of a band of Sahara oasis dwellers after abandoning her Moroccan "husband," who dragged her into the desert on a murky business deal and was felled by a snakebite. Lili fears she will be hunted down and jailed because she refused to drive him to a hospital. "The Arab," as she refers to him, repeatedly raped her, yet he also sprang for an education and fancy clothes. Lili desperately tries to determine if her newfound desert companions are foes or friends: is a Spaniard really searching for a silver mine, and who is the mute "lunatic" who lives in the bushes and tends the camels? Does the Berber sell camels or land mines, are his two black-robed wives trying to poison each other or Lili, and is an Algerian runaway wife some kind of insurrectionist spy? The premise that Vonnegut (cousin of author Kurt) tenders in this debut is gripping, and her Sahara comes to life vividly. But Lili's opacity frustrates, and her confusion comes at the expense of an underdeveloped plot. Readers not versed in the region's political conflicts will find the motivations difficult to track. (Oct.)
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