The Dolphin People, By Torsten Krol

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The Independent Culture

"Always be strong," is the advice given to Erich by his late father, killed in combat. Both physical and mental strength must be summoned by Erich, his brother, Zeppi, and mother, Helga, during their perilous journey from post-war Germany to Venezuela, where the nervous Helga marries her brother-in-law, Klaus. Their plane crashes in the jungle, and the native Yayomi tribe believe that the family are terrestrial incarnations of magical dolphins, a story encouraged by the anthropologist who lives amongst them.

Revealing the powers and pitfalls of storytelling, this absurd fantasy is related in such extraordinarily vivid detail that the reader remains hooked to the brutal end. While her children adapt, shedding their old lives along with their clothes, Helga clings fatally to her customs. This powerful motif of castaways, employed by stories from Robinson Crusoe to Lord of the Flies, is used to devastating effect in Krol's unflinching story of madness and murder, which lays bare both body and mind. The ideology of Nazism casts its shadow in the jungle, as Krol shows man turning monster and preying upon itself.