Author(s): Mathias Enard
As night falls over Vienna, Franz Ritter, an insomniac musicologist, takes to his sickbed with an unspecified illness and spends a restless night drifting between dreams and memories, revisiting the important chapters of his life: his ongoing fascination with the Middle East and his numerous travels to Istanbul, Aleppo, Damascus, and Tehran, as well as the various writers, artists, musicians, academics, orientalists, and explorers who populate this vast dreamscape. At the center of these memories is his elusive, unrequited love, Sarah, a fiercely intelligent French scholar caught in the intricate tension between Europe and the Middle East. With exhilarating prose and sweeping erudition, Mathias Enard pulls astonishing elements from disparate sources-nineteenth-century composers and esoteric orientalists, Balzac and Agatha Christie-and binds them together in a most magical way.
"This astonishing, encyclopedic, and otherwise outre meditation by Enard on the cultural intersection of East and West takes the form of an insomniac's obsessive imaginings-dreams, memories, and desires-which come to embody the content of a life, or perhaps several... [An] opium addict's dream of a novel." -- Publishers Weekly "Mathias Enard has found a way to restore death to life and life to death, and so joins the first rank of novelists, the bringers of fire, who even as they can't go on, do." -- Garth Risk Hallberg - The Millions "A narrative of infinite detail and esoteric knowledge blurs the boundaries between traditional genres, with fiction shading into nonfiction, poetry bleeding into history." -- New York Times "Mathias Enard is the most brazen French writer since Houellebecq." -- New Statesman
Mathias Enard is the award-winning author of Zone and Street of Thieves, and a translator from Persian and Arabic. He won the Prix Goncourt in 2015 for Compass. Charlotte Mandell has translated works from a number of important French authors, including Proust, Flaubert, Genet, Maupassant, and Blanchot.