Author(s): Jim Powell
Set in 1991, our narrator Feliks Zhukovski, a displaced Polish Communist living in Paris, lies in his sick bed being tended to by his landlady of forty years, Madame Lefevre. As they embark on their first ever conversation, Feliks surprises himself by revealing that Paris is not where he considers home and indeed that he has no idea where home for him would be. Separated from his family as a child when the Nazis invaded Poland, Feliks has spent his life producing a travel guide to Iron Curtain countries for Western readers. However, following the collapse of Communism in 1989 and the imminent retirement of his long-term publisher, Feliks finds himself tipped into a maelstrom which he cannot avoid. As he journeys for the first time to America to sell his travel guide there, Feliks is reunited with his half-brother, Woodrow, who no longer considers himself a Pole but rather an American and nothing more. Feeling his own alien status ever more acutely, Feliks has a growing desire to discover the fate of others from his past.