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The Nomad: The Diaries of Isabelle Eberhardt

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  156 Ratings  ·  28 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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Mohsin Maqbool
Jan 23, 2017 Mohsin Maqbool rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Isabelle Eberhardt in sailor's uniform.

ISABELLE Eberhardt was a Swiss-Algerian explorer and writer who lived and travelled extensively in North Africa. She was a polyglot as she was fluent in Latin, Greek, Arabic, Russian, German, French and Italian. Her mother took her to North Africa where she along with her daughter converted to Islam. However, her mother died towards the end of the year.
Isabelle travelled the Sahara desert disguised as an Arab man, calling herself Si Mahmoud Essadi. However
Kaisha Khalifeh
May 15, 2011 Kaisha Khalifeh rated it liked it
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
Sep 08, 2008 Jessica rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2008-books
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
May 07, 2007 Xio rated it it was amazing
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
May 22, 2013 Karen rated it it was ok
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
May 28, 2011 Annabelle rated it really liked it
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
Aug 26, 2008 Rebecca rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 05, 2017 Samantha rated it it was ok
This was hard to rate as some of Eberhatdts observations are outstanding but the diaries are poorly compiled and much is cut out or left to rushed descriptions from the translator. Look forward to reading some of the novels of this fascinating figure
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
Ronald Barranco
Feb 03, 2015 Ronald Barranco rated it liked it
Shelves: travelers
Sometimes brilliant, sometimes rambling and depressing, Eberhardt's diaries give a first-hand account of a woman living on her own in the Sahara desert. Isabelle mentions the possibility of someone reading her diaries, but it is obvious that these journals were not intended for public consumption. Her writing and thoughts jump all over the place, understandably, since she died before she could edit or organize these writings.

Isabelle is the quintessential traveler. She hungers for new experience
Ember Leigh
Jul 30, 2014 Ember Leigh rated it it was amazing
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
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)
Imen Lameri
Jul 23, 2013 Imen Lameri rated it really liked it
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...
Aug 31, 2009 Juanita rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 02, 2013 Hildegart rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Isabelle Eberhardt did not conform to traditional gender roles in late nineteenth century, early twentieth century in Europe or Morocco.
Tia Gonzales
Aug 30, 2015 Tia Gonzales rated it it was amazing
a personal journey, an attempt to stay where one fits in, her pain at being forced out of North Africa is equivalent to being tossed out of the garden
Aaron Gallardo
Sep 08, 2015 Aaron Gallardo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Me identifico casi totalmente con Isabelle Eberhardt. No sé si preocuparme por que sea una obsesa-depresiva masoquista islámica de hace dos siglos.
May 05, 2015 metaphor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I shall always cherish the memory of these past few days spent in greater happiness for they are moments stolen from life’s hopelessness, so many hours snatched from the void.
Tracey  Wilde
Nov 23, 2010 Tracey Wilde rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
Gave up. She was like a modern day teenager with her 'nobody loves me, everybody hates me' attitude.
Swiss Miss
Apr 12, 2013 Swiss Miss rated it liked it
Shelves: adventure
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.
Elianne Farhat
Dec 04, 2007 Elianne Farhat rated it it was amazing
beautiful writing from a strong woman travelling throughout north africa. her story is captivating & her cosmopolitanism is way before her time.
Jean rated it liked it
May 23, 2008
Kate Feline
Kate Feline rated it it was amazing
Nov 10, 2013
Aubrey Anne
Aubrey Anne rated it liked it
Feb 22, 2012
Muhammad Ahmad
Muhammad Ahmad rated it really liked it
Jun 12, 2016
Yasmeen Irani
Yasmeen Irani rated it it was ok
Apr 06, 2010
KRISTEN M. rated it it was amazing
Aug 10, 2014
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
Audra (Unabridged Chick) rated it really liked it
Dec 28, 2009
Laura rated it it was ok
Oct 14, 2011
Acullison rated it it was ok
Feb 03, 2017
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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
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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.” 1597 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.” 152 likes
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