One Sunday afternoon in a secluded valley in Normandy, Robert Dessaix chanced upon the castle where the 20th-century French writer Andre Gide spent his childhood. Recalling the excitement he felt when he first read Gide as a teenager, Dessaix sets off to recapture what it was that once drew him so strongly to this enigmatic figure.
On a magic carpet ride from Lisbon to the edge of the Sahara, from Paris to the south of France and Algiers, he takes us to the places where the Nobel Prize winning author, in ways still scandalous to modern sensibilities, lived out his unconventional ideas about love, marriage, sexuality and religion.
‘Magical and inviting … these arabesques afford the reader inordinate pleasure.’ Livres-Hebdo (France)
‘Surrender to the ravishments first, get lost, skid with thrilled indecisiveness across the mosaic tile of each page. Venture out with the author onto the roads and dizzying crossroads he negotiates as he plots a course between past and present, old haunts and new horizons, in the lands of Araby …’ The Age