Rich and haunting in laguage, "The Saskiad" is an epic tale about the search for home and family in the life of a precocious young girl. Twelve years old and stepped in story, the ferciously bright Saskia is growing up in, and largely holding together, a run-down commune in ruual New York. The guru is long gone, the psychedelic paint job on the battered pickup has been covered over, her mother's current boyfiend is an embarrassment, and the only news Saskia gets from the father she can't remember is an occasional postcard from far away.
A voracious reader, Saskia injects fantasy into real life with a transforming energy. She feasts at Odysseus' side and helps steer his ship homeward under the brilliant stars, Marco Polo shares trading tips with her as they travel together across desert wastes to the rich, strange towns of Cathay. In school, she is making a sextant as a birthday present for Captain Hornblower, who loves her but is too shy and awkward to admit it. Saskia tries to draw the younger children of the commune into her imaginary world, but she needs a partner, a comrade-in-arms, and she finds one in a newcomer to her school, the beatiful thirteen-year-old Jane Singh. The girls' friendship is flourishing when Saskia suddenly gets an invitation to join her father on a holiday expedition, the detination and ultimate purpose of which are as mysterious as he is.