In the pediatrics ward of a public hospital in the heart of Angel City, a group of sick children is gathering. An Asian boat girl, a freakishly aging boy, a child born with no face: they share nothing but their desperation and the journey they know lies ahead of them. The surrogate parents of this band - surgical resident Richard Kraft, overworked to the point of collapse, and therapist Linda Espera, awash with idealism - are charged with keeping these strays alive on make-believe alone. The anthology of story-cures to which the ward pins its hopes doubles back repeatedly on one emergent theme: children, cut loose, wandering too late at night, too far from home. The Pied Piper, the evacuation of London, the Children's Crusade, Peter Pan, and an accumulating texture of fact and fantasy combine to reveal to the adults the forgotten place they came from and to prepare the children for the hidden destination they are off to. This is a story about imagination and memory combining to create an alternative to the hopelessness of Here. At once a social indictment and an intensely emotional account of intimate need, Operation Wandering Soul asks how we might yet delay our bedtime story's rapidly approaching ending and keep alive a little longer the vanishing narrative of childhood.
Original title: Operation Wandering Soul
Genre: Fiction→ General Fiction→ Literary Fiction/classics