What Lot’s wife saw by Ioanna Bourazopulou
Original title Τι είδε η γυναίκα του Λωτ;
Translator – Yiannis Panas
Source – review copy
Well when this dropped through the door ,I wasn’t sure about it but then read the back cover and thought it was different to my usual fair .I saw a review the publisher tweeted from a sci-fi site that had called it speculative fiction (I am alien to genre fiction titles ,so I had in my head it was dystopia fiction myself ) ,but then an interview with female first by the writer herself said she wasn’t sure where it should be placed and I ll go with that it is a book of many parts ,as such is hard to be cornered as one thing or another .Ioanna Bourazopulou started of studying hotel management in both her native Greece and then in the Uk ,she decide to try fiction in her early thirties .This is her début novel ,it won the Athens ,and was also shortlisted for three other prizes .
… The colony is not visible from the sea .On this everyone agrees,even the most experienced mariners such as captain Cortez ,who has served the consortium for twenty years and can navigate these violet waters with his eyes closed .Indeed ,that is the best way to approaches ,with eyes firmly shut .
from page four of the letter of Xavier Turia Hermengildo
So to the book What Lot’s wife saw is set in the near future .A major crack appear in the earth eating up middle Europe so Paris is now a port and new land that appear called the colony is a mix of the displaced from the disaster and people who were born and grew up there .Also when this happened it caused something called Violet salt was found in the time since then the world has slowly become addicted to this mineral .The Governor of this region one Bera has turned up dead .This is where we are introduced to Phileas Book ,he lives in Paris and consider the best crossword compiler of his time .He has been brought in by a shadow organisation called the consortium .This consortium is the complex organisation that actually runs the colony ,a strange place with a different system of government .Book is given letters from the six people suspected of the crime and has to try to find out what happened ,he is well placed as the inventor of a complexed 3d crossword ,so we see him struggle to find the truth .
… We lifter Bera’s naked body from the bed .We sponged it down throughly and dragged it to the door .We’d decided against putting the ceremonial uniform back on since it was in shocking condition .Looking for the key ,we had ripped the pockets and the lining off .But it had been in vain .
The discovery of Bera’s body .
This book is genre busting ,it’s easy to put it with Dan Brown a man that makes puzzles solves puzzles ,sounds rather like the lead man of his books ,but no that would be putting this book down ,this is far more complexed than a Brown thriller.Another thing before I started the book I thought of was the seventies film Soylent green in which a man tries to discover where the food of the title comes from and yes in some ways this book and that film have a lot in common ,shadow secrets are abound in both .The book also examines what happens when the goal posts are moved and society changes and adapts after a massive shift in power that saw mainland Europe disappear cause an unfair regime and system to take hold with just a privilege few .The way the book is set out is refreshing ,in the same interview ,I read with her on female first she talks about using ,her previous experience in writing plays had helped her in setting the book out so what we get via the letters is a collection of small scenes and as the book unfolds these scenes are almost like clues in a giant crossword each one helps the next one along giving a little more light on what had happen to Governor Bera .We also see a hidden past appear and what lead to the killing .As with the title this book maybe like the story of Lot shows a post modern Sodom and Gomorrah in the colony .
Have you a favourite Greek novel ?