Review: The Fugitives, by Panos Karnezis
Having been immersed in blistering first-person female narratives of late, it was a shock to land in Panos Karnezis’s jungle in the company of an English Jesuit questioning his faith and his church’s sanity in attempting to teach White Man’s God shtick to a tiny group of indigenous (brilliantly portrayed) Indians. Far from being a trudge, though, The Fugitives is subtly brilliant. Karnezis’s feel for feelings – the priest’s, the Indians’, the settlers’, even the fat bishop’s in a hammock in his rose garden in the city – is super keen. The jungle, naturally, has its own starring role. Fecund, terrifying, indifferent, it’s also supremely fragile. The Indians watch from the shadows as the desperate settlers burn millennia of life to cinders – the village headman’s shooting of four of them leads to the beginning of the end. Oh yeah.