“As you can see, Rosario, there are many different ways across, but in the end we rarely explain anything much.”
In the 1990s a man who believes he is possessed leaves his work, his mistress, his wife and children to go into exile at the ends of the earth. In 1812, just before crossing the Berezina River, One of Napoleon’s soldiers is taken prisoner by the Russians and uses loose scraps of paper to record his two terrible years in captivity. In 2013 two friends, one French-Chinese, the other French-Argentine, set off for Patagonia in search of the latter’s uncle who’s been missing for twenty years, and they meet the man who sells real estate on the moon. In 1882 a doctor of astronomy joins an international expedition to Tierra del Fuego to observe the planet Venus, and forges links with the Yahgan Indians whose population would be exterminated a few decades later.
These stories come together to form one which bounces from chapter to chapter around an unspoken central drama played out between Marseille and Punta Arenas, Russia and the magnificent landscape of southern Patagonia.
Christian Garcin is a prolific author of novels, short stories and travelogues; his works include La Piste mongole (Verdier, 2009), Des femmes disparaissent (Verdier, 2011) and Les Nuits de Vladivostok (Stock, 2013).