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Joy Sorman & Catherine Lacey in Conversation ONLINE EVENT Albertine Bookstore/French Embassy

Jean-marie Blas De Roblès


Born in 1954, Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès has been a lecturer in philosophy at universities in Brazil, China, and Italy and, finally, for the Alliance Française in Taiwan. His first literary publication, a volume of short stories, was honored by the Académie Française in 1982.  His critically acclaimed third novel, Where Tigers Are at Home, won the Prix Médicis in 2008 and was published in English translation in 2013. His latest books are the novel La montagne de minuit and the short story L’Échiquier de Saint-Louis (Zulma, 2013). An avid traveler, Blas de Roblès also edits a series of books on archaeology and is a member of the French Archaeological Mission.

He will participate in the Brooklyn Book Festival on Sunday, September 22, 2013.



When Where Tigers Are at Home was published in France, Le Figaro Litteraire offered this heady description and praise: “Umberto Eco revised by Malcolm Lowry for Indiana Jones, with a bit of The African Queenand Claude Lévi-Strauss in Amazonia . . . an 800-page chameleon...  a marvelous, dizzying galaxy, spiraling to the end of the novel.”Winner of the Prix Médicis, this multifaceted literary novel follows the Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher across seventeenth-century Europe and Eléazard von Wogau, a retired French correspondent, through modern Brazil.

When Eléazard begins editing a strange, unpublished biography of Kircher, the rest of his life starts to unravel—his ex-wife goes on a dangerous geological expedition to MatoGrosso; his daughter abandons school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 Eléazard himself starts losing his sanity, escalated by loneliness and his work on the biography. Patterns begin to emerge from these interwoven narratives, culminating in a mesmerizing climax.

Short-listed for the Goncourt Prize and the European Book Award, and already translated into fourteen languages, Where Tigers Are at Home is a literary and entertaining epic that belongs in the company of Umberto Eco and David Mitchell.



“remarkable…dazzling… readers may find their own grip on reality slipping away in a vortex of  literary enchantment that fuses arcane scholarship, polymorphic sex, exotic geography, psychedelic drugs, and gruesome violence. Thanks to a gifted translator, English speaking readers can now understand why European critics have been raving over this astonishing novel, winner of the Prix Médicis.” – Booklist starred review

“…what begins as a faux metabiography turns to picaresque adventure with erotic escapades, scams, and unexpected changes of fortune… 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

“Psychodrama meets history meets mystery… This densely woven tale is anything but simple, however, and the reader approaching it should be prepared for abundant shape-shifting and time-shifting… The payoff is not just the enjoyment of a craftily written historical novel with detective-story undertones, but also plenty of cocktail-party-worthy trivia…” Kirkus