In the Fabled East by Adam Lewis Schroeder
From one of Canada’s best young voices comes a sweeping literary adventure set against the backdrop of French Indochina.
Paris, 1909: Adelie Tremier, a young widow suffering the final stages of tuberculosis, flees for French-occupied Indochina, through the lush forests of Laos, to seek out a fabled spring of immortality that might allow her to return to her nine-year-old son.
Laos, 1936: Pierre Lazarie, a young academic turned Saigon bureaucrat, is sent by Adelie’s son, now an Army captain, to find his longlost mother. Although his assigned quest fulfills Pierreis fantasy to travel up the exotic Mekong, he is saddled with his colleague Henri LeDallic, an Indochina old-timer who would rather glory in his loutish past than hunt for ghosts in the jungle. Yet what this mismatched pair discovers forms the mysterious heart of Adam Lewis Schroeder's brilliant and compelling new novel.
Bridging history from 1890s Aix-en-Provence to American involvement in 1950s Vietnam, In the Fabled East is a rich and sensual depiction of Southeast Asia, charting the loss of innocence of both individuals and the world at large. Echoing Graham Greene and Joseph Conrad, this is historical fiction written with wisdom and panache.