Where Tigers Are At Home
Other Press | March 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When Eleazard begins editing a strange, unpublished biography of Kircher, the rest of his life seems to begin unraveling—his ex-wife goes on a dangerous geological expedition to Mato Grosso; his daughter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.
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.
Article originally published by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States on frenchculture.org.