A brutal murder on an Aegean island during the carnival festivities that precede Lent uncovers the ugly side of a small, inwardly focused society. The narrative zooms in on the background of perpetrator and victim, taking us into their grim family past. In the claustrophobic confines of Greek provincial life, which persists despite spectacular modernization throughout much of the country, love and sexual passion have incendiary power. Awkward relations develop between the locals and others who happen to be on the island for one reason or another, invited or not, in The Big Sand. Vangelis Raptopoulos shows the isolation, personal frustration and inability to communicate that are rife in urban society being transferred in their entirety to the remotest province. His characters, carved out of steel, have endured harsh childhoods but experienced a kind of freedom that will prove lethal to others in a tale of pain, desertion and horror.