It is on the plane to Morocco that events take an unexpected turn, when Aziz, pressed for details of a "birthplace" that isn't his, invents the fabulous story of Irghiz, a valley paradise hidden from the world and now in danger of ruin. From this moment on, the attaché forgets his original assignment and has only one mission: to return Aziz to the Eldorado he left behind and save it from the ravages of modern progress. So begins an initiatory journey that takes Aziz, Jean-Pierre, and a disabused aristocrat named Valerie d'Armeray de Villeneuve across a desert both real and mythic, pursuing a vision of happiness as elusive as Irghiz itself.
At once humorous and poignant, the story of this journey is "a beautifully realized blend of sensitivity, humor, intelligence, and good sense . . . a rich and engaging novel, filled with a lucid and compassionate humanity. (Jean-Claude Lebrun)...Continua