The Collector of WorldsBook - 2009
Presents a fictional account of the infamous British colonial officer's adventures in British West India, the Hajj to Mecca, and East Africa, where he helped influence nineteenth-century colonialism.
“Iliya Troyanov has turned Burton’s unbelievable life into believable fiction, achieving a rounded and satisfying portrait that traditional biography could never match.”
—New York Times Book Review
The Collector of Worlds is a fictionalized account of the infamous life and times of Sir Richard Francis Burton—the British colonial officer stationed in India who made the Haj to Mecca, discovered the source of the Nile, spoke twenty-nine languages, and translated A Thousand and One Arabian Nights and the Kama Sutra into English. The winner of the fiction prize of Germany’s Leipzig Book Fair in 2006 and the Berlin Literary Award, The Collector of Worlds is a brilliant re-imagining of a richly eventful, truly incredible life.
Blackwell North Amer
This fictionalized account imagines the life of Sir Richard Francis Burton - a nineteenth-century British colonial officer with a rare ability to assimilate into indigenous cultures. Burton's obsessive traveling took him from England to British India, Arabia, and on a quest for the source of the Nile River in Africa. He learned more than twenty languages, translated The Arabian Nights and the Kama Sutra, and took part in the pilgrimage to Mecca, in addition to writing several travel books.
This novel tells the story of Burton's adventures in British West India, his experience on the hajj to Mecca, and his exploration of East Africa. In each section, perspective shifts between Burton and the voices of those men he encounters along the way: his Indian servant tells the stories of his travails with Burton to a scribe; the qadi, the governor, and the shari in Mecca investigate Burton's hajj; and Sidi Mubarak Bombay, his African guide, shares his story with friends in Zanzibar. The concentric narratives examine the underbelly of colonialism while offering a breathtaking tour of the nineteenth century's most stunning landscapes.
A German best-seller based on the life of the infamous British colonial officer and translator traces his adventures in British West India, the Hajj to Mecca, and East Africa, where his penchant for languages and cultural assimilation shaped his relationships and influenced nineteenth-century colonialism.