Atile’i, a 15-year-old second son, is set adrift with ten days of food and water. He is being sacrificed to the Sea God. He gets weak and dizzy but notices a funny smell and lots of flies. He is not quite ready to give up on life, just yet. At the same time Alice, a college professor, is introduced to the reader. She is grieving for her lost son and husband as she lives on a house that is often surrounded by water due to high tide. She sacrificed her life savings to build this flawed, but beautiful house, only to find herself alone in it. She thinks of suicide often, but her uncanny kitten seems to know exactly when to bother her.

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Reporters show up on the Taiwanese coast where Alice lives, waiting for the trash vortex that is supposed to crash into the coast. Alice and Atile’i meet when the trash (and Atile’i) hits the coast. Their lives are suddenly intertwined and they go from both potentially dying to trying to survive. The Man with the Compound Eyes is a magical tale with environmental lessons.  The author deftly mixes a fantasy tale with an everyday woman to create a modern take on the environment and on stresses of everyday life.

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