Microcosmia pursues offbeat protagonist Cristian Vane, an emotionally troubled young liberal who's just come into the staggering Vane fortune. With his newfound wealth and responsibility, Vane sets out to put his cosseted life back together, but a series of gut-wrenching misadventures in the real world produce a complete nervous breakdown. The young heir surfaces with a fresh perspective: wealth is wasted on the wealthy; his bequest is a golden opportunity to do something magnificent in a heartless world. Sickened by a documentary featuring scammed Ethiopian famine victims, he sets off for Africa to build his utopia. Though Vane's misplaced magnanimity results in East-West friction and internal rivalries, he still manages to create his magnum opus, even as cutthroat pirates, a vile Eritrean colonel, and a doomed affair with a gorgeous, control-freak journalist push him over the edge. The tale concludes with an overwhelming assault by the Eritrean Army during the mother of all desert locust plagues.
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November 06, 2007
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