A grand and myth-like drama germinating from a single imaginative idea unfolds in fascinatingly bizarre and grotesque detail against the backdrop of recent Southeast Asian history.
The protagonist is known only by the moniker Bozu, written with the characters for "tomb" and "head"; his true name is never revealed. He was born in November 1955, five full weeks before he was due, with a strange protuberance on his head. Inside it is the lifeless body of his identical twin. His mother died from a heavy loss of blood during the cesarean section. His father subsequently hangs himself, and others who have a connection to Bozu also die one after another. As he grows older, the boy's greatest concern is how he might remove his brother's corpse from inside his head.
Bozu grows up in an orphanage. While there he falls under the influence of a leftist staff member, who arranges for him to go on a study tour to China, where he meets Mao Zedong. Then, proceeding on to Cambodia, he also meets Pol Pot. Before long Bozu has become one of his mentor's operatives in a global network created to generate profits and support terrorism. As the plot develops, Bozu has numerous close shaves with death. And thanks to a prodigious sexual appetite he fathers children everywhere he goes.
The story, which ultimately spans some 50 years of Bozu's life, is told in the first person by a young writer?eventually revealed to be Bozu's grandson?who is traveling in search of his own missing father and Bozu. It begins with his arrival on a remote island in the Indian Ocean, where he interviews a silkworm grower who knows Bozu. Elsewhere he has heard rumors that Bozu massacred large numbers of tourists on this island . . .
Written by a new voice in entertainment fiction, this work might be described as the adventures of a gregarious, free-wheeling "elephant man" gallivanting across Southeast Asia. Throughout its pages shines a truly inventive, no-holds-barred imagination.