Summary: Chapter 3: An Immodest Proposal

Cal now lives in Berlin, Germany, working for the American Foreign Service. While riding the U-Bahn to work, Cal sees an Asian woman with a bicycle. Their eyes meet.

Cal appears masculine and operates in society as a man. Occasionally, he’ll find a mannerism of Calliope (his given name) sneak into his manner, as if he’s being possessed.

Back in the village, after the Greeks’ defeat by the Turks, Lefty suggests he and Desdemona move to America to live with their cousin Sourmelina. They decide to find a boat in the city of Smyrna. Desdemona brings her silkworm box and some eggs so they have a means of making money.

The Greek and Armenian citizens of Smyrna take comfort in the French and British warships in the harbor. An Armenian man named Dr. Philobosian reassures his family that the Turks won’t ransack the city under the watch of Allied forces. In addition, he has a letter from an important Turkish official whom he treated that guarantees protection to his family. On his way to retrieve this letter from his office, Dr. Philobosian cleans the wounded hand of a Greek refugee. When the refugee can’t pay, Dr. Philobosian gives him some money instead.

This refugee is Lefty, who uses the money to buy food for Desdemona. He no longer tries to hide his attraction to her. Desdemona alternates between joy and shame. She expects someone to call them out, but no one in Smyrna knows they’re related.

The Greek fleet sails away, abandoning Smyrna to its fate.Turkish forces attack the city, setting it ablaze. As fire rushes through the Armenian Quarter, Dr. Philobosian decides to leave home to help an injured neighbor, despite his wife’s fear. However, when he reaches the neighbor’s house, he has to hide from looters. By the time they leave, his neighbor has died. He rushes home and finds his family murdered by Turkish soldiers.