on 21 February 2013
I rarely read biographies in this age of one a minute celebrities, the rich and famous.
Having been transported to realms of the exotic by Isabelle Eberhardt's 'In the Shadow of Islam' - I wanted to learn more about a woman whose writings are so evocative,mood creating and beautiful and whose life was so short and unconventional.
Kobak's biography is not an easy read but a magnificent one. Deeply researched, it traces not just the subject's journey, but also some of the social and political contexts of the countries in which she lived and travelled. It has given me an insight into the 19th century relations between East and West, between Arab and Infidel, forerunning the events of today in Algeria, Tunisia and Europe. This is an added bonus, for the core of the biography is about Isabelle herself through tracing the significant events which forged such an original character, such a pioneering adventurer and such a brilliantly creative writer