Winner of the 2020 PEN/Faulkner Award
‘A mesmerizing, revelatory novel, smart and funny and laced with a strangeness… For my money, Chloe Aridjis is one of the most brilliant novelists working in English today’ Garth Greenwell
One autumn afternoon in Mexico City, 17-year-old Luisa does not return home from school. Instead, she boards a bus to the Pacific coast with the reckless, impulsive TomÃ¡s, a boy she barely knows. Their quest: to track down a troupe of Ukrainian dwarfs who have recently escaped a touring circus.
Together they head for Zipolite, the ‘Beach of the Dead’, a community peopled by hippies, nudists, beach combers and eccentric storytellers, and Luisa searches for someone, anyone, who will ‘promise, no matter what, to remain a mystery’. But as Luisa wanders the shoreline, she begins to discover that a quest is more easily envisioned than accomplished.
‘Destined to be a classic: a richly imaginative, reflective and entracing novel’ Xiaolu Guo