Where Tigers Are At Home
by Jean-Marie Blas de Robles
translated by Mike Mitchell
(Other Press, March 5, 2013)
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When Eleazard begins editing a strange, unpublished biography of Kircher, the rest of his life seems to begin unraveling—his ex-wife goes on a dangerous geological expedition to Mato Grosso; his daughter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.
Read an exerpt of the book (U.K. version).
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; he also has an interest in archaeology, has been a member of the French Archaeological Mission to Libya and edits a series of books on archaeology, which includes several of his own.
His first literary publication was a volume of short stories in 1982, followed by two novels (L’impudeur des choses, 1987; Le rituel des dunes, 1989), after which he turned to writing full time, while travelling widely. His magnum opus, Là où les tigres sont chez eux (Where Tigers Are At Home) took ten years to write and almost as long to find a publisher who would publish it without insisting he should shorten it by 400 pages.
About the translator:
For many years an academic with a special interest in Austrian literature and culture, Mike Mitchell has been a freelance literary translator since 1995. He is an editorial director at the British publishing house Dedalus, and is responsible for the Dedalus translation programme.
He has published over seventy translations from German and French, including Gustav Meyrink’s five novels and The Dedalus Book of Austrian Fantasy. His translation of Rosendorfer's Letters Back to Ancient China won the 1998 Schlegel-Tieck Translation Prize after he had been shortlisted in previous years for his translations of Stephanie by Herbert Rosendorfer and The Golem by Gustav Meyrink.
His translations have been shortlisted three times for The Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize: Simplicissimus by Johann Grimmelshausen in 1999, The Other Side by Alfred Kubin in 2000 and The Bells of Bruges by Georges Rodenbach in 2008. His recent translations include Hans Cadzand's Vocation (and other stories) by Georges Rodenbach, The Lairds of Cromarty by Jean-Pierre Ohl and My Little Husband by Pascal Bruckner. Visit his website.