ISABELLE EBERHARDT was born in Geneva in 1877, the illegitimate daughter of a Russian Orthodox priest and part-Russian, part-German aristocrat. She spent much of her short adult life in north Africa where she converted to Islam. She was killed in a flash flood at the age of 27.
'Cultdom can imply a a blind suspension of critical faculties, and Isabelle has suffered from that. A hazy image of her as a soul-sick Amazon-of-the-desert has been recycled as each new generation discovers radical desert chic. Yet her writings, and her sheer modernity, stand up to modern scrutiny... Not only only have the stories she collected become invaluable oral history for the North Africans, but her perception of Islam as a future, and not a spent, force on the world stage has proved prophetic. In that, as in the rebel-without-a-cause about her, she has proved ahead of her time.' - DAILY TELEGRAPH 'A compelling narrative and an ideal starting point from which to discover more about Isabelle Eberhardt's picaresque life.' - Nicola Walker, TLS 'She [Eberhardt] was the first hippie. She travelled with no money living from day to day; she had no concept that chastity was of any value and was sexually voracious; she was into kif-smoking; and she lived in Morocco dressed as a man.' - Juliet Stevenson