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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.
“A joy to read. It is beautifully articulated and superbly written. . . . A glorious and satisfying ‘thriller.’ ” —The New York Times
“In a time of intellectual inflation, . . . Gide’s survival can help us to distinguish between the genuine and the counterfeit. . . . There is nothing like the real thing.” —The New Republic
“Full of gusto. . . . The imagination works freely and the plot marches boldly ahead, galloping through the most preposterous situations without breaking its neck.” —New York Herald Tribune