Stefan Hertmans




Vigdis Adelais, a young medieval woman from a Christian family, falls in love with David Todros, a Narbonne rabbi’s son. Their life story is complicated because it takes place in the 11th century. To be together, Vigdis gives up her life of privilege and comfort, and the couple must flee their city with pursuers hot on their heels. The lovers embark on a dangerous journey to the south of France, where the First Crusade takes shape, and the story of forbidden love evolves into a journey spanning continents. Based on two fragments from the Cairo Genizah, an archive containing more than three hundred thousand manuscripts, the author has created a remarkable work in which he artfully blends fact with fiction and vividly depicts medieval society with stylistic ingenuity.

Published by Garamond, 2021


©Saskia Vanderstich

Stefan Hertmans (* 1951) is one of the essential contemporary Flemish authors. He has been a professor at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent for more than twenty years and has lectured at universities abroad: in Paris, Vienna, and London. He is the author of novels, essays, plays, and poems, which he enjoys reciting to jazz accompaniment. His book War and Turpentine (Oorlog en terpentijn) (in Czech in 2020), which won several literary prizes, including a nomination for the prestigious Man Booker Prize, brought him worldwide fame.


Radka Smejkalová