Cover image for Stories of the Sahara
Title:
Stories of the Sahara
ISBN:
9781408881873
Physical Description:
xii, 395 pages ; 25 cm
Personal Subject:
Added Author:
Summary:
"Hypnotic . . . A record of one person's fierce refusal to follow a path laid down for her by the rest of the world." Paris Review Best Books of the Year The 15-million copy bestselling travelogue-memoir from legendary Taiwanese author Sanmao, translated into English for the very first time. Leafing through the pages of National Geographic as a young girl growing up in Taiwan, Sanmao became enchanted by the infinite and wonderous landscape of the Sahara. Years later, in 1974, she sets out for the Spanish desert territory of El Aaiún in hopes of becoming the first female explorer to cross the hauntingly beautiful expanse. Her boyfriend José would have to wait, or join her. He packs his things, leaves Madrid, and asks Sanmao to marry him. As Sanmao settles in to married life alongside the indigenous people of the Western Sahara, she is confronted by a culture and desert lifestyle that both captivate and confound her. Drawn in by the mystery of such desolate lands but disappointed by the drawl of life as a perpetual outsider, Sanmao begins to wonder if the desert is what she imagined it to be, and if her insatiably curious heart can beat forever in just one place. Stories of the Sahara is a breathtaking exploration of the adventures-and misadventures-of untamable wanderlust. Sanmao illuminates the joys of fearless independence and the pains of yearning for elsewhere, culminating in a stunning mosaic of love and loneliness in a deeply human search for meaning and contentment.
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Summary

Summary

"Hypnotic . . . A record of one person's fierce refusal to follow a path laid down for her by the rest of the world." Paris Review Best Books of the Year

T he 15-million copy bestselling travelogue-memoir from legendary Taiwanese author Sanmao, translated into English for the very first time.

Leafing through the pages of National Geographic as a young girl growing up in Taiwan, Sanmao became enchanted by the infinite and wonderous landscape of the Sahara. Years later, in 1974, she sets out for the Spanish desert territory of El Aaiún in hopes of becoming the first female explorer to cross the hauntingly beautiful expanse. Her boyfriend José would have to wait, or join her. He packs his things, leaves Madrid, and asks Sanmao to marry him.

As Sanmao settles in to married life alongside the indigenous people of the Western Sahara, she is confronted by a culture and desert lifestyle that both captivate and confound her. Drawn in by the mystery of such desolate lands but disappointed by the drawl of life as a perpetual outsider, Sanmao begins to wonder if the desert is what she imagined it to be, and if her insatiably curious heart can beat forever in just one place.

Stories of the Sahara is a breathtaking exploration of the adventures--and misadventures--of untamable wanderlust. Sanmao illuminates the joys of fearless independence and the pains of yearning for elsewhere, culminating in a stunning mosaic of love and loneliness in a deeply human search for meaning and contentment.


Author Notes

Sanmao, born Chen Mao Ping, was a novelist, writer, educator and translator. Born in China in 1943, she grew up in Taiwan. She studied in Taiwan, Spain and Germany before moving to the Sahara desert with her Spanish husband, a scuba diver and underwater engineer. In 1976, she gained fame with the publication of her first book, Stories of the Sahara . Her husband died while diving in 1979, and Sanmao returned to Taiwan the following year. From 1976 until her death in 1991, she published more than twenty books.
Mike Fu is a Brooklyn-based writer, translator and editor. He is a cofounder and editor of The Shanghai Literary Review , a transnational English language journal for arts and literature, and the assistant dean for global initiatives at Parsons School of Design.


Table of Contents

A Knife on a Desert Nightp. 1
A Desert Dinerp. 17
The Marriage Chroniclesp. 25
Apothecaryp. 39
Child Bridep. 51
Night in the Wastelandp. 61
The Desert Bathing Spectaclep. 77
Looking for Lovep. 89
Nice Neighboursp. 103
Dilettante Fishermenp. 115
Seed of Deathp. 131
A Ladderp. 149
Hearth and Homep. 169
My Great Mother-in-Lawp. 207
Stealing Soulsp. 231
Sergeant Salvap. 245
Hitchhikersp. 263
The Mute Slavep. 285
Crying Camelsp. 307
Lonesome Landp. 355
Milestones in the Life of Sanmaop. 381
Translator's Notep. 385
Notesp. 391
Translator's Acknowledgementsp. 393