THE GOLDEN DROPLET by Michel Tournier


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A delicately jeweled modern fable from the best-selling French author of Gemini, Four Wise Men, The Fetishist, and Gilles and Jeanne (p. 1030). A young Berber shepherd is drawn away from his Sahara oasis when a French tourist takes his photograph. What's in the photograph but his other half, his soul? To let his own image stray in the outside world might be dangerous, so Idris plans a route to Paris in search of the photograph and the beautiful blonde who took it. Tournier's lush, detailed descriptions of Sahara life prevent Idris from making too hasty an exit, however, and before he's subjected to some familiar idiocies of 20th-century culture, we're given a lengthy tour of Berber geography and customs in case the later contrast should be lost. Packing in as many references to images as possible along the way, Tournier moves Idris along the slow immigration route from the Sahara to Paris. Once there, Idris discovers fast food, commercial sex, and the ultimate image-fabricating industry, the movies--but, despite it all, and remaining true to his mission, he ultimately recovers his own sense of self. An essentially plain tale heavily embellished with travelogue-style narrative, folkloric legends, and digression. In keeping with his fabulist aims, Tournier is shooting for a big-picture theme rather than a study in character, and if one can take the simplicity of his protagonist on faith, the novel succeeds.

Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 1987
Publisher: Doubleday