Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wind, Sand and Stars

Antoine Saint Exupery's Wind, Sand and Stars is a book I've been saving up to read for years. I kept thinking that I'd wait to tackle it until my French was good enough to really appreciate it. But there comes a time in a man's life when he realises that his French is never going to improve. So I took WSS in English and a couple of other books (not for me the mighty Kindle) on my Tokyo trip.
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The book is as beautiful as I thought it would be. It's filled with Saint Exupery's poetic reflections on life most of which he composed while flying early mail routes in South American and N Africa. I don't expect this to be everyone's cup of tea, but I'm afraid that I'm going to have to insist that everyone does attempt the story of Bark The Slave from pages 60 - 69 (in the Penguin edition) which is one of the most fantastic short passages of prose I have ever read.
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Saint Exupery's amazing story of crashing in the Libyan desert and somehow suriving is on pages 71 - 103. It's this account that led Outside Magazine to pick WSS as the #1 adventure travel book. Sadly of course Saint Exupery, was shot down over the Mediterranean in 1944 just a few years after composing Le Petit Prince and Wind, Sand and Stars.