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Vendela Vida is the author of the acclaimed novels 'And Now You Can Go' and 'Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name'. She is a founding editor of The Believer magazine, and the editor of The Believer Book of Writers Talking to Writers. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and children.
In Vendela Vida's taut and mesmerizing novel of ideas, a woman travels to Casablanca, Morocco, on mysterious business. While checking into her hotel, the woman is robbed of her wallet and passport - all of her money and identification. Though the police investigate, the woman senses an undercurrent of complicity between the hotel staff and the authorities - she knows she'll never recover her possessions. Stripped of her identity, she feels burdened by the crime yet strangely liberated by her sudden freedom to be anyone she chooses. A chance encounter with a movie producer leads to a job posing as a stand-in for a well-known film star. The star reels her in deeper, though, and soon she's inhabiting the actress's skin off set, too - going deeper into the Casablancan night and further from herself. And so continues a strange and breathtaking journey full of unexpected turns, an adventure in which the woman finds herself moving further and further away from the person she once was.
Yvonne is newly widowed, her children grown up. And so, hoping to revisit memories of a happier time, she travels to Turkey. Despite the sand and sea, memories of Yvonne's past are overwhelming and she clings to a newfound friendship with Ahmet, a local boy who makes his living as a shell collector. With Ahmet as her guide, Yvonne finally begins to enjoy the shimmering waters and relaxed pace of the Turkish coast. But when a devastating accident suddenly upends her hard-won peace, she finds her life thrown into chaos and with it her fragile sense of belonging.