Repatriated from Africa, Hugo, the narrator, returns to the village of his childhood. Alice Almeida, a woman he has once loved, but whom he has not seen since sixteen years, has sent him a strange and alarming letter.
He arrives at his house and finds it devastated; obviously, something terrible has happened. Alice lives closed up in a sanatorium, being nothing more than her own shadow - silent, foolish, ill. Patient and obstinate, Hugo begins to establish new bonds with her. Alices’ inner silence finds an echo in Hugos’ solitude. The narrator has himself lived through a traumatising experience: sent to the desert of Aïr to investigate on a disappearance, he has been seriously injured, but saved and healed by a tuareg woman. Talking to Alice about his magic “tuareg night”, helps Hugo to find a way back to Alice and mysteriously brings the ancient lovers together. Alice finally gives up her silence and reconstructs her own violent experience by telling it, fragment by fragment. Fragile, life comes back to both of them.
François Emmanuel was born in Belgium in 1952. He is the author of several novels like La Passion Savinsen (1998), La Question humaine (2000), La Chambre voisine (2001) or Le Sentiment du fleuve (2003).