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Synopsis

This collection contains a series of stories about travels abroad from a queer perspective, each crafted with a distinct spirit and intent and with prose that elicits a cross-pollinating of personal and emotional insight—a special achievement that enables two hemispheres to join through the epicenter of the 2004 Asian tsunami. Author Matthew R. Loney's use of language is rich in description, full of lucid and lively textures, smells, and sensations as a way to transport readers to places they might not travel themselves. Each person and place becomes a thread in a revelatory tapestry, each transition of setting a steppingstone for discovery and adventure. With striking vividness, the author takes readers from familiar departure lounges to foreign cities steeped in history, from enticing turquoise beaches for which everyone longs to desolate mountain ranges well off the beaten track, from consecrating baths in the sacred Ganges to fringe indulgences in Cambodian brothels—and back home, to a northern Canadian cabin where the father of a tsunami victim reels in the quiet aftershocks of grief as the rubble of his memories drag him toward further destruction. That Savage Water is an exceptional debut that explores the mechanisms of connectivity and the intrinsic entanglements that link people, their diverse cultures, and how they take the country they call home with them as they make their way through places they may, on their way, easily call their homes away from home. The message: anonymity while traveling in foreign landscapes can both free and isolate people through the friends they make, the risks they take, the foods and places they love and hate, and at times the depravities they face as they pass through those alluring settings called “abroad.”

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