Synopses & Reviews
Winner of the Prix Médicis, this multifaceted literary novel follows the Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher across 17th century Europe and Eleazard von Wogau, a retired French correspondent, through modern Brazil.
When Eleazard begins editing a strange, unpublished biography of Kircher, the rest of his life seems to begin unraveling—his ex-wife goes on a dangerous geological expedition to Mato Grosso; his daughter abandons school to travel with her young professor and her lesbian lover to an indigenous beach town, where the trio use drugs and form interdependent sexual relationships; and Eleazard himself starts losing his sanity, escalated by loneliness, and his work on the biography. Patterns begin to emerge from these interwoven narratives, which develop toward a mesmerizing climax.
Shortlisted for the Goncourt Prize and the European Book Award, and already translated into 14 languages, Where Tigers Are At Home is large-scale epic, at once literary and entertaining, that belongs in the company of Umberto Eco and Haruki Murakami.
"Writing in French a story set in Brazil, Blas de RoblÃ¨s simultaneously channels Umberto Eco, Indiana Jones, and Jorge Amado in his internationally acclaimed 800-plus page riff on science, civilization, and self-interest. Fact and fiction interweave through alternating narratives: a French journalist attempts to translate a 17th-century manuscript recording the life of real-life Jesuit scholar Anathasius Kircher as seen through the eyes of his private secretary; the journalist's ex-wife searches for rare fossils in the Amazon rain forest; the journalist's daughter seeks oblivion in drugs and sex; Nelson, a 10-year-old crippled beggar, exists among the dregs of society; Carlotta, wife of a corrupt politician, entertains the elite. The novel opens with journalist ElÃ©azard von Wogau reading about Kircher's wide-ranging academic studies and acquaintances with figures like Bernini, Galileo, and Sweden's Queen Christina. But what begins as a faux metabiography turns to picaresque adventure with erotic escapades, scams, and unexpected changes of fortune: Elaine von Wogau's geological expedition is attacked in the jungle and must seek refuge among headhunters, while her daughter, MoÃ©ma, spirals downward into addiction. From a foul-mouthed macaw to Leonardo's flying machine, this sprawling novel depicts 'the absurdity beneath which the criminal stupidity of men generally hides.'" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Born in 1954, Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès
was a lecturer in philosophy at universities in Brazil, China, and Italy and, finally, for the Alliance Française in Taiwan. His first literary publication was a volume of short stories in 1982, followed by two novels, after which he turned to writing full time. An avid traveller, Blas de Roblès also edits a series of books on archaeology, and is a member of the French Archaeological Mission.
Mike Mitchell has translated over fifty titles including works by Goethe, Meyrink, Adolf Loos, and Oskar Kokoschka. Several of his translations have been shortlisted for awards, including three short listings for The Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize. Most recently Mitchell has been shortlisted for the Kurt Wolff Prize for his translation of Thomas Bernhard's Over All the Mountain Tops. In 1998, he was awarded the Schlegel-Tieck Prize for best German translation for Herbert Rosendorfer's Letters Back to Ancient China.