Courland is an entity that no longer exists. With the Gulf of Riga to the north, the Baltic to the west and Lithuania at its southern border, and now part of modern Latvia, the region was occupied by Nazi Germany and returned to Soviet Russia after the war, remaining largely inaccessible until 1991. It is now a nowhere land of wide skies and forests, deserted beaches, ruined castles and ex-KGB prisons. For years Jean-Paul Kauffmann has been irresistibly drawn to this buffer between the Germanic and Slav worlds. His digressive travels at the wheel of a Skoda become an investigation into the whereabouts of a former lover, a search for an excavator of tombs, and a journey in the footsteps of Louis XVIII, for whom Courland was once a place of exile.
Jean-Paul Kauffmann is the author of The Dark Room at Longwood (1999), an exploration of Napoleon's exile on St Helena, Desolation Island (2001) and Wrestling with the Angel (2003). He was a journalist until 1985, when he was kidnapped in Beirut and only released three years later. Euan Cameron's translations include works by Julien Green, Simone de Beauvoir and Paul Morand, biographies of Marcel Proust and Ir ne N mirovsky.
Maps. Prologue. I - THIRTY YEARS LATER: Mara from Canada. The 'Grand Oral'. Circe. Where Is Courland? The Resurrector Appears. II - THE JOURNEY TO COURLAND: A Red Skoda Favorit. The Lecturer from Liepaja. Gwenaelle K. The Polytonal Rocker. The Battle of Tsushima. Manor House or Palace? III - THE PROFESSOR: In the Corridor. The Sabile Vineyard. Fluffy Soviet Blankets. Moricsala. Gambia and Tobago. The Courland Cap. Romantic Courland. The Venus of Blankenfeld. Madame Royale's Tree. IV - THE HOUSE ON THE LAKE: Winter. The Resurrector is a Painter. Encounter with the Resurrector. Crocodile Dundee. The Survivor. 'It's a German Name'. Mythological Courland. The Cemetery. The Stranger. V - THE RETURN: Revenge. A Letter. Index. Chronology. Notes. Suggest Reading. Acknowledgements.
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