Passing with cinematographic speed across the capitals of Europe, Nobel laureate André Gide's Lafcadio's Adventures is a brilliantly sly satire and one of the clearest articulations of his greatest theme: the unmotivated crime.
When Lafcadio Wluiki, a street-smart nineteen-year-old in 1890s Paris, learns that he's heir to an ailing French nobleman's fortune, he's seized by wanderlust. Traveling through Rome in expensive new threads, he becomes entangled in a Church extortion scandal involving an imprisoned Pope, a skittish purveyor of graveyard statuary, an atheist-turned-believer on the edge of insolvency, and all manner of wastrels, swindlers, aristocrats, adventurers, and pickpockets. With characteristic irony, Gide contrives a hilarious detective farce whereby the wrong man is apprehended, while the charmingly perverse Lafcadio--one of the most original creations in all modern fiction--goes free.
First published in 1902 and immediately assailed for its themes of omnisexual abandon and perverse aestheticism, The Immoralist is the novel that launced André Gide's reputation as one of France's most audacious literary stylists, a groundbreaking work that opens the door onto a universe of unfettered impulse whose possibilities still seem exhilarating and shocking.
Gide's protagonist is the frail, scholarly Michel, who shortly after his wedding nearly dies of tuberculosis. He recovers only through the ministrations of his wife, Marceline, and his sudden, ruthless determination to live a life unencumbered by God or values. What ensues is a wild flight into the realm of the senses that culminates in a reomote outpost in the Sahara--where Michel's hunger for new experiences at any cost bears lethal consequences. The Immoralist is a book with the power of an erotic fever dream--lush, prophetic, and eerily seductive.