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This book follows the author on a personal journey into the Sahara and examination into the racist assumptions of those writers who have gone before him. Taking as a metaphor the divers who cleaned out desert wells, Lindqvist drags to the surface the story of colonial slaughter and sexual exploitation which contaminate his boyhood idols.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781862075078
ISBN-10: 1862075077
Format: Paperback
(197mm x 129mm x 13mm)
Pages: 144
Imprint: Granta Books
Publisher: Granta Books
Publish Date: 11-Apr-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

UK Kirkus Review » Sven Lindqvist's journey into the north-western Sahara charts a vast territory of colonial history, dreams, biography and memoir. The sharply honed prose traverses great reaches of time, space and imagination, extending the frontiers of travel writing itself. Retracing the steps of his boyhood heroes, Saint-Exupery, Vieuchange, Eberhardt, Gide and others, Lindqvist makes pilgrimages to windblown towns and deserted outposts questioning the motivation of the storytellers and adventurers who captured his young imagination. The power of this writing, captured in breathtakingly short fragments, is the author's pains to experience as much as examine the boundless emptiness of the Sahara and the history and illusion it holds in human minds past and present. Aged nearly 70, the thoughts and knowledge he transports with him are as important as what remains to be discovered, and he delivers a thoughtful yet heartfelt analysis of the romanticism of many early desert travellers and the curious role of the colonies in an imperial imagination desperately in need of a 'dreamland' in which to liberate repressed desire. Poetry is balanced with realism describing the massacres missing in historical literature and the slavery of well divers, their bodies ruined by deep diving to remove sludge from the bottom of wells. This is a writer deeply emotional about the desert yet not blinded by the self-destructiveness of its attractions. Shortlisted for the 2001 Thomas Cook Travel Book Award, this extraordinary achievement will surely become a classic. (Kirkus UK)


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Author Biography - Sven Lindqvist

Sven Lindqvist was born in Stockholm in 1932 and has travelled extensively through Asia, Africa and Latin America.

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