Praise for Alex Capus's A Matter of Time: 'Capus offers an intriguing scenario and writes laconically, humourfully and well.' (The Scottish Review of Books blog
'More evidence that some novels are too good to leave to the imagination comes in the shape of Sailing by Starlight: In search of Treasure Island (Haus) by the Swiss writer Alex Capus. The reason that Stevenson (whom the author calls 'Louis') settled on Samoa six years after publishing his pirate yarn was, we are told, to be near some real buried treasure, hidden on Samoa's 'southern neighbour' Tafahi, by Captain William Thompson. Like all good treasure hunters, Capus sees clues everywhere: 'it seems positively suspicious that [Stevenson] makes no mention' of the (real) treasure island, he writes. It's enough for us: 'We'll have favourable winds, a quick passage, and not the least difficulty in finding the spot, and money to eat - to roll in - to play duck and drake with ever after.' (Times Literary Supplement
'A small, scarlet hardback, slim enough to fit into a pocket, it is nattily designed but published at a paperback price. It recounts a story woven within, and around, two others that millions of readers will already know: one the plot of a much-loved novel published 127 years ago, the other the course of its author's life, combed through at length by so many biographers that it has itself picked up the patina of myth. Confiding, easy-going, intimate, the writer spins a new – a mind-bendingly new – account from this well-worn cloth. Fluent, charming, but mischievous, the story slips past like a tantalising vision but leaves a strange flavour behind.' (Boyd Tonkin The Independent
An exhilarating, captivating literary adventure that follows treasure maps, pirate lore and other clues in search of the fabled Treasure Island. (Shelf Awareness
In 1889 Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island, made the unlikely decision to settle in Samoa with his wife and stepson. Capus, a French Swiss novelist who writes in German, speculates that perhaps Stevenson knew that it was in close proximity to a real treasure island. Could nearby Tafahi be the location of the lost Lima treasure, stolen from a cathedral in Peru in 1821? Is that why Stevenson spent all his savings to live in an inhospitable area so far from his home in Scotland? Capus describes how Stevenson came to write his most famous work, his unusual family and their life on the island, and stories of other hunters who sought the same treasure in vain. VERDICT With engaging prose, Capus provides conjectural food for thought. Regardless of whether Stevenson found riches, the possibility of life imitating art is tantalizing. A good choice for travel or literary biography readers. (Library Journal
About the Author
Alex Capus (born France, 1961) is a French-Swiss novelist who writes in German. He studied History, Philosophy and Anthropology at Basel University before embarking on a career in journalism. He published his first novel Munzinger Pascha in 1997, and has so far published ten books. Haus published his novel A Matter of Time in 2009.