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Where Tigers Are at Home Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 5, 2013
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*Starred Review* Late in de Roblès’ remarkable novel, a tribal shaman chants, “Soon the Messenger will guide us to that mountain where visions cascade down uninterruptedly.” This dazzling book is itself such a mountain, overflowing with visions that dramatically enlarge the reader’s imaginative horizons. At the narrative confluence of these surging visions, de Roblès places the complex psyche of Eléazard von Wogau, a French journalist living in Brazil, spending his retirement editing the manuscript of a biography of a seventeenth-century Jesuit, a polymath whose life trajectory exposes theological passions, alchemical secrets, and sensual appetites. Unsettled by the serpentine turns in the life of this dead cleric, Eléazard struggles to cope with the more immediate influence of an ex-wife venturing into a perilous rain forest to do archaeological research and a mercurial daughter hitting the beach with a lesbian lover and a freethinking professor. As Eléazard teeters on the brink of insanity, 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. --Bryce Christensen
"Late in de Roblès’ remarkable novel, a tribal shaman chants, “Soon the Messenger will guide us to that mountain where visions cascade down uninterruptedly.” This dazzling book is itself such a mountain, overflowing with visions that dramatically enlarge the reader’s imaginative horizons." —Booklist (starred review)
"Psychodrama meets history meets mystery—vintage Umberto Eco territory, as practiced by French philosophy professor turned novelist Blas de Roblès." —Kirkus
“This encyclopedic and mystifying novel, full of picaresque adventures, delights and fascinates…Umberto Eco revised by Malcolm Lowry for Indiana Jones, with a bit of ‘The African Queen’ and Claude Levi-Strauss in Amazonia…An 800 page chameleon. A marvelous, dizzying galaxy, spiraling to the end of the novel.” —Patrick Grainville, Le Figaro littéraire
"Where Tigers are at Home repeatedly surprises- and, despite its occasional violence...is far from a depressing take on the human condition. A very good adventure tale- of both the intellectual and traditional kind-, Where Tigers are at Home is creative fiction of a very high order." —Complete Review
"Already translated into 14 languages, this is a novel that will stay with you longer than others." —Advocate
“Jean-Marie Blas de Robles toys with illustrious references and manhandles magical realism with bookish irreverence. Where Tigers Are At Home is a work of raucous erudition, and an enormously ambitious and amusing palimpsest.” —Clara Dupont-Monod, Marianne
"Those of you who stay with Blas de Robles' ultimately quite satisfying novel will find yourselves with a new European literary star to steer by." —Tri States Radio
“[A] freewheeling narrative that mixes adventure yarn, magic realism, social comment, political satire, high ideas, popular culture and a standard injection of sadism and sex...Long in the making, this clever, exuberant philosophical novel [shows] that we do not live in a protected Eden but in a land where power is king and tigers are more at home than we are.” —David Coward, Times Literary Supplement
"Blas de Roblès simultaneously channels Umberto Eco, Indiana Jones, and Jorge Amado...what begins as a faux metabiography turns to picaresque adventure with erotic escapades, scams, and unexpected changes of fortune...this sprawling novel depicts 'the absurdity beneath which the criminal stupidity of men generally hides.'" —Publishers Weekly
"A massive tale of intrigue spanning centuries, with 17th century scholar and man of dubious science Athanasius Kircher at its heart." —Three Percent
"This novel is a quite satisfying read, one of best novels I suspect that will appear in English, in the original or translation, in 2013." —Three Percent
"Modern stories alternate between the characters with cliffhanger endings, not to be resolved until several chapters later...Each thread of the story becomes increasingly interesting as they all move toward a connection...Highly recommended." —Historical Novel Society
"...Where Tigers Are at Home is a great enough work that I would gladly travel through its treacherous pages again."—Rain Taxi Review of Books
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For a moment, I was thinking of the similarities of this book to a picaresque adventure, but in those, each of the stories have some resolution.
I found the book very frustrating.
I really didn't know how many stars to give because of my experience, but I wanted to let others know my experience in case they also find such scenes in stories a turn-off.