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The Nomad: The Diaries of Isabelle Eberhardt
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The Nomad: The Diaries of Isabelle Eberhardt

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3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  108 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Eberhardt's journal chronicles the daring adventures of a late 19th- century European woman who traveled the Sahara desert disguised as an Arab man and adopted Islam. Includes a glossary. Previously published in English by Virago Press in 1987, and as The Passionate Nomad by Virago/Beacon Press in 19
Paperback, 208 pages
Published August 14th 2003 by Interlink Books (first published 1987)
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Kaisha Khalifeh
I gave this 3 stars, not because of Isabelle herself, but because of the prig of an editor who compiled this edition. I would be reading along, enjoying Isabelle’s perspectives on life, and then the editor would interject "and here Isabelle goes on to describe her great sexual satisfaction in her lover..." or "Isabelle's drug habit had grown so strong that she roamed the streets of Paris smoking the leaves off any tree she could find..." WTF? Why cut these parts out, I ask? So I had to go out an...more
Jessica (j*&p*)
While I'm glad I read these journals of Isabelle Eberhardt, I can't truthfully say that I enjoyed reading them. Her story is so intriguing, but I'd rather hear it told by someone else.

Just before the turn of the century Isabelle left her adopted home of Geneva and headed for Algeria which held her fascination for the duration of her short life. She caused a stir almost everywhere she went dressing as a man and being inducted into elite male societies and causing trouble with French colonial mil...more
Annabelle
This is excerpts of Isablle Eberhardt’s diaries writing in 1900. She was an iconoclastic woman, Russian born in Switzerland of questionable progeny on the male side. The family’s tutor ostensibly her father tutored her and converted her and her mother to Islam. She was brilliant speaking French, Russian, German and Arabic and a voracious reader. She dressed as a man and travled alone through Algeria sleeping in the sands and being sexually promiscuous. During the diary time she fell in love and...more
Xio
Inspired by my own desire and fueled by the biographical accounts of true adventurers I cut my hair down short donned my boots and overalls and went into the wide world hoping to pass for a boy wanting to engage, but to be left alone.. This set of diaries is not the book I read. My out of print version is named "Vagabond" and is written by I Eberhardt, but while she kept a journal she also wrote a tale of herself.

She cut her hair, donned male muslim dress got herself down into N Africa and thoug...more
astried
Expectation, that sneaky bugger, remind me to throw it out of the house whenever I start reading a new book.

When I first found out about Isabelle Eberhardt I thought she must've been the coolest woman ever. She explored the Algerian desert in man's clothes. She did it at the time before youth hostel, travel agents and backpack tourist. Even better, she was only in her early twenties when she did it.

Compared to my cowardy wish to see desert from the edge, she has my utmost adulation. I wanted to...more
Ember Leigh
Isabelle Eberhardt could have easily been one of my childhood friends. Though she lived in the late 1800's, her worries, woes, and tribulations echo that of many women these days in the throes of New Adulthood, struggling to strike out on your own, make sense of the world, and be true to some quivering idea of oneself buried deep on the inside.

Some of Isabelle's thoughts are verbatim for things I've written in my own diary. The solidarity felt with this wanderer and seeker from another time is...more
Obisbooks
Interesting, a little difficult because I knew nothing about Isabelle and this only covered about 4 years of her life so trying to piece together some things made it a little confusing. Interesting woman though, died young in a flash flood as she was getting more established in her writing life and her married life. Going to look for her fiction, and maybe a biography on her to learn more. Isabelle was an illegitimate daughter of Russians living in Geneva, who practiced Islam and lived in Algeri...more
Karen
I'm halfway through and disappointed. Eberhardt was a very interesting character who as a young woman decided to live in North Africa, converted to Islam, and frequently dressed as a boy to enjoy more freedom than she would as a woman in this era (ca 1900) and environment. She is enraptured with her surroundings. I was hoping for something as evocative and powerful as Beryl Markham's West With the Night or Durrell's Prospero's Cell, but her diaries seems thin somehow. Maybe it's the translation....more
Emily
Sep 27, 2007 Emily marked it as to-read
"Eberhardt's story is reason enough to read these collected memoirs; Born in Geneva in 1877, she moved with her mother to Algeria, converted to Islam, and lived her life as a man. She had many friends, lovers and enemies, and died in a mysterious desert flood at age 27." (from Conde Nast Traveler, one of the 86 best travel books ever written)
Rebecca
A thin volume, with little background; I likely should've started with a biography first. Was thinking she'd get to Morocco, but apparently not. Still, an inspiration for her love of the Maghreb and passion for travel. Too bad that, in her time, she had to dress as a man to do it ... and that she held her own gender in such contempt.
Imen Lameri
Perhaps I shouldn't have read Eberhardt's diaries after Leslie Blanch's Wilder Shores of Love! Isabelle Eberhardt reminds me so much of Lawrence of Arabia as both of them are sex-crazed, mysterious, mysteriously in love with the Arabian desert and the gate from which colonialism entered the Orient...
Swiss Miss
Still a lot of holes in her story. Would've been nice for the editor to add much more to the diaries so her life and death were a bit clearer, but really fascinating nonetheless.
Juanita
This is truly a story of one
of the most daring people I
have ever met. Seems a character
of fiction than real life.
Travelling through North Africa as
an Arab man.
Elianne Farhat
beautiful writing from a strong woman travelling throughout north africa. her story is captivating & her cosmopolitanism is way before her time.
Jill
Isabelle Eberhardt did not conform to traditional gender roles in late nineteenth century, early twentieth century in Europe or Morocco.
Tracey  Wilde
Gave up. She was like a modern day teenager with her 'nobody loves me, everybody hates me' attitude.
Mona
What an amazing woman. It is a pity more of her work was not preserved.
Carey B.
fascinating...but i want more!!!
Sarah
Left many questions about her life unanswered.
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Isabelle Eberhardt was a Swiss-Algerian explorer and writer who lived and travelled extensively in North Africa. For the time she was an extremely liberated individual who rejected conventional European morality in favour of her own path and that of Islam. Dressed as a man, calling herself Si Mahmoud Essadi, Eberhardt travelled in Arab society, with a freedom she could not otherwise have experienc...more
More about Isabelle Eberhardt...
The Oblivion Seekers In the Shadow of Islam The Oblivion Seekers and Other Stories Departures: Selected Writings ياسمينة

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“Now more than ever do I realize that I will never be content with a sedentary life, that I will always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere.” 1366 likes
“For those who know the value of and exquisite taste of solitary freedom (for one is only free when alone), the act of leaving is the bravest and most beautiful of all.” 109 likes
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