Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Isabelle: The Life of Isabelle Eberhardt” as Want to Read:
Isabelle: The Life of Isabelle Eberhardt
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Isabelle: The Life of Isabelle Eberhardt

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  92 ratings  ·  12 reviews
An illustrated biography of Isabelle Eberhardt who, although she died young, became a legend in her own lifetime. Using her diaries and many previously unpublished letters, the author tells of her childhood in Geneva, her adventures in the North African desert and her identification with the Arabs. The film rights of this book have been sold.

From Publishers Weekly:
This cap
...more
Hardcover, 258 pages
Published March 25th 1989 by Alfred a Knopf (first published 1988)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Isabelle, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Isabelle

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  92 ratings  ·  12 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Isabelle: The Life of Isabelle Eberhardt
Nicole
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
Overall not totally swept off my feet with this biography of a forgotten woman and author of the turn of the century. Isabelle was of Russian birth (out of wedlock) who grew up in Geneva with her siblings and mother but also with a man who never outright admitted his paternity. Her childhood was full of education but never acceptance and she grew up comfortable with taking on the identity of a young boy which she carried through adulthood. Fascinated by Islamic culture, Isabelle felt she was Mus ...more
Kamila
May 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
2,5*
Though well researched I found this book to be unnecessarily too long and too detailed. This guy said this and that guy said that...who cares?! Also, the author uses a lot of french words and doesn’t show the translation, which for a non french reader is rather annoying!
Isabelle was an incredible writer and it isn’t even discussed or portrayed here. I’m glad I’ve read her books already, because if I didn’t, after reading only this biography I don’t know if I would bother. Isabelle’s work is
...more
Tony Marshall
She only lived for 27 years, but what an interesting life she lived.
Sufie Berger
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the exciting story of a woman, who broke all rules so that she could explore and travel the world, in the end of the nineteenth century. One of my favorite books of all times.
Cherine Hakani
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“ I am alone [je suis seul- she writes of herself in the masculine gender, occasionally slipping into the feminine], sitting facing the grey vastness of the shifting sea... I am alone... alone as i’ve Always been everywhere, as i’ll Always be throughout this delightful and deceptive great Universe... alone, with a whole world of disappointment and disillusion behind me, and of memories growing daily more distant , almost unreal.”
MaryTank
Aug 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: worthreading, history
I enjoyed reading this book about a courageous woman who accomplished the impossible considering the time, geographic locations she traveled, particularly Algeria, and that she was a woman from poverty stricken aristocratic roots who was as comfortable within the realm of European class as she was accepted by Muslim desert sects in the areas where she traveled, and military power within these same areas.

I have to wonder why her life took such sadly twisted and ill-chosen turns particularly with
...more
Susan
May 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Interesting book about a woman whose name I recognized but about whom I knew little. Eberhardt was raised in Geneva by Russian parents with complicated lives! Her mother had left her husband in Russia and lived with the man who was Eberhardt's father (though it was never admitted or acknowledged by anyone in the family that he was her father.) From him she learned many languages, including Arabic. She spent much of her very short life in Algeria, traveling by herself often, living "rough", dress ...more
Xavier
Feb 01, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
This is a biography of Isabelle Eberhardt, a rich, well-educated, cross-dressing, sexually liberated and voracious, anarchist, muslim, woman of Victorian-era Europe. She lived among a Sufi brotherhood as a man but fucked them as a woman. She fought against the French on the side of the Arabs. She spoke several languages. She lived fast, and at 27, she died in a flash flood in Algeria in 1904. Quelle vie!
Nina
Sep 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
WHAT AN ADVENTURE
Frank
Jul 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Fascinating and well-researched biography.
Kathy
Oct 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
Brave woman, fascinating story.
April
Very interesting life of an unconventional woman
John
rated it really liked it
Oct 08, 2015
Rubayya
rated it liked it
May 25, 2012
Brigitte
rated it it was amazing
Jan 23, 2009
Hida Schaefer
rated it liked it
Dec 11, 2013
Scamel
rated it liked it
Aug 26, 2014
Michele Parduyns
rated it really liked it
Dec 11, 2012
Emma
rated it liked it
Mar 31, 2011
deborah s. swanner
rated it really liked it
Nov 08, 2015
Judy
rated it it was ok
Apr 23, 2013
Bettina
rated it it was ok
Jun 04, 2018
Odette
rated it it was amazing
Jul 07, 2008
Kristina Gibson
rated it liked it
Apr 17, 2018
Rhonda
rated it it was ok
Jun 05, 2012
Thomas
rated it it was amazing
Apr 18, 2009
Heather Haines
rated it liked it
Nov 17, 2012
Odette van
rated it really liked it
Feb 05, 2014
Meriel
rated it it was amazing
Jun 22, 2015
Amelia
rated it really liked it
Jul 11, 2012
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Waiting for the Barbarians
  • Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching
  • Love Is a Dog from Hell
  • The Joke
  • What to do When Someone Dies
  • Ignorance
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
  • Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World
  • Gorączka. W świecie poszukiwaczy skarbów
  • American Primitive
  • Practice of the Wild
  • The Reindeer People: Living with Animals and Spirits in Siberia
  • Cat Person
  • Manifesto for a New Medicine
  • All Backs Were Turned
  • Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses
  • The Lost Pianos of Siberia
  • What I Know for Sure
See similar books…
1 follower
Born in London, Annette Kobak studied modern languages at Cambridge University and creative writing at the university of East Anglia. She has written an acclaimed biography of the traveller Isabelle Eberhardt, and translated her novel Vagabond from the French. She presented the series The Art of Travel on BBC Radio 4, and reviews travel books and fiction for The New York Times Book Review and The ...more

Related Articles

There's something great about a paperback book: They're perfect book club choices, you can throw them in your bag and go, and they've been out in...
26 likes · 3 comments