The Oblivion Seekers. Isabelle Eberhardt was an unusual woman, and we’re fortunate to glimpse her unique meld of European angst and. To be an outsider who is at home everywhere: The Oblivion Seekers by Isabelle Eberhardt. Long and white, the road twists like a snake toward. Oblivion Seekers by Isabelle Eberhardt, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide.
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Return to Book Page. Obkivion Oblivion Seekers by Isabelle Eberhardt. Stories and journal notes by an extraordinary young woman–adventurer and traveler, Arabic scholar, Sufi mystic and adept of the Djillala cult.
It is the inescapable chain of events that has brought me to this point, rather than I who have caused t Stories and journal notes by an extraordinary young woman–adventurer and traveler, Arabic scholar, Sufi mystic and adept of the Djillala cult. It is the inescapable chain of events that has brought me to this point, rather than I who have caused these things to happen. She did not make decisions; she was impelled to take action. Her nature combined an extraordinary singlness of purpose and an equally powerful nostalgia for the unattainable.
Paul Bowles has taped and translated numerous strange legends and lively stories recounted by Mrabet: Paperback88 pages. To see what isablle friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Oblivion Seekersplease sign up. Lists with This Book. Never heard of her? I had not either, but a quick look at her biography ensures that I will look at a more in-depth biography about her.
Increasingly isolated from her family and her inheritance, she was plagued by emotional and financial problems, but she had a fierce will. From an early age she dressed as a man for the greater freedom this allowed, and she developed a literary talent and a gift for languages, including Arabic. Like her father Eberhardt became seeiers to Islam. She converted while in Algeria with her mother.
She became involved with Qadiriyya Sufi order, married an Algerian soldier, worked as a war reporter, helped the poor and needy and fought against the injustices of French colonial rule. She was also the victim of an assassination attempt but later successfully pleaded for the life of the man who attacked her.
She openly rejected conventional European morality of the time, preferring to choose her own path, and drank alcohol, smoked marijuana and had numerous affairs. Obliviom doesn’t cling to any European perspectives she may hold and gives a voice to the people she encounters, their believes, their customs, their reasoning.
She describes tribal rivalries, domestic issues, love, slavery, hardship, wealth – all of seeekers seems to have its place in her settings. The stories sberhardt not connected and aren’t really stories either.
Rather they are vignettes of observations or conversations mixed with stories. Because Eberhardt does not give the account from the perspective of a European traveller, but of someone who is searching for her own self, she does not judge.
The stories truly are interesting. However, her writing is – lyrical as it is – does at times come across as too stylised to be a true account of her observations. Some poetic licence was oblovion doubt at play.
When looking at both collections separately, In the Shadow of Islam is a better book. It contains one or two stories that are also in The Oblivion Seekers but I found the translation of the stories in In the Shadow of Islam to have a much better flow.
Oblivion Seekers : Isabelle Eberhardt :
In a way obliion is surprising because The Oblivion Seekers has gathered more praise on account of the translation by Paul Bowles, which in my opinion is not warranted. I found Bowles translation hard to read. In the Shadow of Islam – 3. Apr 01, Inderjit Sanghera rated it it was amazing. It seemed to her that never before had she really seen the sun turn the crests of the mountain gold, and never before watched the capricious play of light on the trees.
Seekrs 07, Jeff Jackson rated it really liked it. Wonderful collection of mostly short stories, filled out with a few sketches, diary entries, and a letter. Eberhardt’s writing throughout is threaded with a eberhzrdt strain of lyricism. Paul Bowles’ translation here is exceptional and these stories with their often cruel desert settings and oblibion sensibility bear more than a passing resemblance to his own work – while predating it by half a century. View all 5 comments.
The back of my copy of the book said isahelle of the strangest human documents that a woman has given to the world” — Cecily Mackworth.
Maybe at the time it was. But it seems to me more like one of the strangest women who has ever given any documents to the world. Here she is dressed in her typical moslem man attire she dressed up as a man all her life.
She was born in Switzerland, raised by a Russian nihilist father, and lived isaelle of her life in Algeria and South Africa and occasionally France. A The back of my copy of the book said “One of the strangest human documents that a woman has given to the world” — Cecily Mackworth.
Apparently the French government thought she was a spy, and went to great lengths to keep her out of their country, even though she was legally married to a frenchman.
The one novel she wrote was destroyed in a flash flood that also took her life at the age of oblivikn The stories in this slim book are stories of people who struggle with freedom and convention. They also contain incredibly vivid descriptions of landscapes. She seems to have a strong sense of justice. In the story “Criminal”, she says “Crime, particularly among the poor and down-trodden, is often a last gesture ebrrhardt freedom”.
She is a genuine independent thinker; though her stories aren’t driven by thought, you get a sense of her originality through them. Above the gorges, scarcely moving their wings, hung the eagles, like golden nails affixed to the incandescent sky.
He came to the true countryside It was the month of July. Seeker even a strip of green remained on the land’s exasperated palette.
The pines, the pistachio trees and the palmettos were like blackish rust against the red earth. The dried-up river beds with their banks that seemed to have been drawn with sanguine made long gaping wounds in the landscape, revealing the gray bones of rock inside, among the slowly dying oleanders.
The harvested fields gave a lion-colored tint to the hillsides. Little by little the colorless sky was killing everything. Mar 12, Nate D rated it liked it Shelves: Stories of life in the margins of society by a Swiss-Russian Muslim journalist who spent most of her life altogether too short, she died during a flood at just 27 in traveling North Africa, whenever the French government, suspicious of her allegiances, wasn’t barring her from the colonies.
It may be that Eberhardt’s own story is even more compelling than her writings, but they are all born up by clear, quietly lyrical prose and her perpetual rejection of the patriarchal bonds of colonial Stories of life in the margins of society by a Swiss-Russian Muslim isabelel who spent most of her life altogether too short, she died during a flood at just 27 in traveling North Africa, whenever the French government, suspicious of lsabelle allegiances, wasn’t barring her from the colonies.
It may be that Eberhardt’s own story is even more compelling than her writings, but they are all born up by clear, quietly lyrical prose and her perpetual rejection of the patriarchal bonds of colonial eberharrt and family. May 11, Aeekers. To think that this genius writer wrote these remarkable stories, then was killed in a flash flood in oblivionn desert at age 28 rberhardt almost too painful to think about.
Hats off to the ever remarkable Paul Bowels for his isbelle, a writer who knew genius when it came his way. Jul 17, Jonathan Norton rated it it was ok. Short selection of fiction and non-fiction by the intriguing figure of Eberhardtdaughter of a Russian anarchist who lived in Switzerland, who travelled to Algeria and converted to sufism. The focus of the writing is on life at the borders, in the interior regions of the fringes of French rule, and in the borders eberhzrdt respectable society, where vagrants and prostitutes wander.
There is some anti-imperialist detail about the iniquities of French imperialism, under which the expropriate Short selection of fiction and non-fiction by the intriguing figure of Eberhardtdaughter of a Russian anarchist who lived in Switzerland, who travelled to Algeria and converted to sufism.
There is some anti-imperialist detail about the iniquities of French imperialism, under which the expropriated tribes were “compensated” according to alien notions of land inheritance, which were simply meaningless in the native culture. The importance of drugs to the visionary experience of the eponymous “oblivion seekers” is also considered.
The selection was composed and translated by Paul Bowles, but the tone and content here is quite different from his novels, in which the pitiless desert and its ruins simply unwind the European seeiers Eberhardt and her characters clearly believe they have discovered an alternative existence in Islam.
Tranced into oneness with the universe. Paul Bowles has offered a superb translation of these evocative stories, stories that take the reader to a different time with nomads and kif smokers and French colonialists in Morocco and Algeria. Reading this collection was like hearing Jimmy Hendrix for issabelle first time–a real rush.
Jan 06, Gea rated it it was amazing Shelves: Aug 24, Joseph Schreiber rated it really liked it. A curious collection of tales by a most fascinating, unconventional woman who captured a view of North Africa at the turn of the twentieth century from a perspective that most European women would never have dared to take. For my full review, see: Hikayeler hafif ve kolay okunuyor. Oct 04, Quinn Slobodian rated it really liked it.
Raised by a Russian Nihilist in Switzerland, Eberhardt escaped to French Algeria in at ebernardt twenty and converted to Islam there with her mother. She traveled as a man but fell in love with and married eberhardh man too, joined a Sufi brotherhood, was gored by a would-be assassin’s saber, both worked with and fought violently against the French colonizing powers, and died in a flash flood which also carried away her life’s writings.
The Oblivion Seekers is a translation by Paul Bowles of the fragments that could be found in the wreckage of the flood. Eberhardt’s biography is a such a catalogue of courage and transgression of lines of geography, culture, religion and sex that it’s hard not to swoon. Her best stories are the ones that play off this experience of conversion, show the slow tidal shift from ebberhardt world to another in the minds of her characters.
At the same time, as a European, she became friends with militaryman Hubert Lyautey who as much as anyone helped bring the Obljvion under French colonial domination, suggesting the limits of a conversion from Europe that, when convenient, allowed one to convert back. Although I loved her stories, it’s strange when the closest eberhsrdt can come to a literature of the colonized is written by a woman from the continent of the colonizer in ethnic drag.
I was plagued by the thought: